Reports have emerged that five men have been arrested in Zimbabwe on suspicion of engaging in homosexual sex.
A 55-year-old white male and four younger black “accomplices,” ages not yet released, were arrested in Harare on allegations of committing sexual immorality, it emerged Tuesday.
The incident which has left Domboshava residents in shock came to light when a bottle store owner suspected that something was wrong after seeing the young black men spending money in an unusual manner leading him to alert the police.
The men are currently detained at Domboshava Police Station awaiting trial.
This report originates from the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and has then been picked up by other sites. As yet it remains the only source to have run this story, so a note of caution is worth sounding.
Zimbabwe criminalizes homosexuality under common law prohibitions on sodomy or “unlawful and intentional sexual relations per anum between two human males.” The law also criminalizes sex between same-gender individuals, allows for the prosecution of intent to commit homosexual sex, and LGBT rights groups in the country also face the added threat of prosecution under the Censorship and Entertainments Control Act which allows the government to prevent materials from being circulated that are deemed offensive to public morality.
The country’s leader Robert Mugabe has frequently decried homosexuality as a Western disease, even once saying “It degrades human dignity. It’s unnatural, and there is no question ever of allowing these people to behave worse than dogs and pigs. If dogs and pigs do not do it, why must human beings? We have our own culture, and we must re-dedicate ourselves to our traditional values that make us human beings. What we are being persuaded to accept is sub-animal behavior and we will never allow it here. If you see people parading themselves as Lesbians and Gays, arrest them and hand them over to the police!”
Lesbians in the country have faced extreme violence with many suffering so-called “corrective” rape to supposedly try and turn them straight — such crimes are often committed by members of their own families or close friends of the family. Victims of such violence, if they survive, have no means of legal recourse because laws banning homosexuality effectively preclude them from any court action.
We will continue to update you on this story as it develops.
Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to brainchildvn.