The United Nations’ AIDS task force is joining the fight against the anti-gay sodomy law being proposed in the Republic of Malawi, a landlocked country in southeastern Africa, which will be presented before the High Court on Monday, March 17.
The law has been suspended since November 2012, when Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara called for a cease on the arrest and prosecution of those who engage in a consensual homosexual act. Kasambara has since denied that he was responsible for the suspension.
Before the standstill, Malawi President Joyce Banda attempted to have the law repealed, but legislators would not cooperate. Now, the High Court is set to review the constitutionality of the law.
The United Nations’ AIDS task force and other human rights groups will be heading the court battle, challenging the law as well as the convictions of three men who have been imprisoned since 2011. In Malawi, the maximum sentence for acts of homosexuality is fourteen years.
“Our argument is that as long as same-sex relationships are consensual and done in private, no one has business to get bothered,” said law society spokeswoman Felicia Kilembe.
Reuters reports that homosexuality became a front-running issue in Malawi in 2009, after two gay men held a public wedding ceremony. They were arrested on charges of public indecency, though former President Bingu wa Muthariki later pardoned them.