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Attorney General withdraws gay case from Supreme Court

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The Attorney General (AG) has filed a notice to withdraw the appeal case to look at the constitutionality of Section 153 from the Supreme Court implying that the case will proceed at the High Court.

The case will determine the repeal of laws that criminalise homosexuality as the issue continues to stir heated debate among Malawians.

The focus of the appeal involved the case of three prisoners — Amon Champyuni, Mathews Bello and Mussa Chiwisi — who were convicted in 2011 and are serving sentences ranging from 10 to 14 years for practising homosexuality.

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Speaking on behalf of friends of the court, Mwiza Nkhata, Associate Professor of Law at Chancellor College, said they have been preparing for the appeal and were later notified that the AG withdrew the case from the Supreme Court.

“What this means is that, since the case was already at the High Court, it will proceed there. The court has to empanel judges to hear the case. A date will be set aside for the parties to come and present their arguments. Almost all the parties involved filed their arguments. The date set will be for oral hearing,” Nkhata said.

In November 2013, the High Court decided to review constitutionality of the laws.

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At the time, it invited government agencies, religious bodies and civil society organisations to take part in the review.

The law has been on hold since November 2012, when former justice minister, Raphael Kasambara, declared a moratorium on arrests and prosecutions related to consensual homosexual activities.

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