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Marriage Equality Hero of the Month
4 May 2010
Steven Monjeza & Tiwonge Chimbalanga
Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, the Malawi couple arrested and imprisoned after they held a 'traditional engagement ceremony', are May's Marriage Equality Heroes of the Month.
Steven and Tiwonge were arrested on 28th December 2009, two days after holding the engagement ceremony and are facing criminal charges of "unnatural offences" and "indecent practices between males."
Imprisoned for the past 4 months in Chichiri prison in Blantyre, conditions are reported to be harsh and the cause of Steven's deteriorating health, who is, according to Peter Tatchell "...vomiting, coughing and suffering from pain and pressure in his chest, his eyes are jaundiced, he is thin and weak, with barely enough energy to smile."
Steven and Tiwonge have been arrested because they love each other and made a declaration of that love. This case harps back to Oscar Wildes prosecution in 1895, 115 years ago. Wilde was imprisoned for two years 'hard labour', having been convicted of "gross indecency" with other men. Such persecution would not happen in modern Ireland and should not in Malawi.
Steven's calls for medical treatment are ignored. Their love considered 'unnatural' and 'indecent'. The injustice of this situation speaks volumes.
Steven and Tiwonge not only deserve our recognition as Heroes but they also desperately need our support and intervention. As such, Marriage Equality join Amnesty International in its call for the unconditional release of the couple.
Please write to Steven and Tiwonge and let them know they are not alone. You can send a postcard or letter of support to; Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, Prisoners, Chichiri Prison, P.O.Box 30117, Blantyre 3, Malawi.