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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Statement: Malawi presidential pardon of imprisoned gay couple

Jean Lambert, the Green MEP for London, has “warmly welcomed” the presidential pardon of a gay Malawi couple who were sentenced to 14 years hard labour for ‘gross indecency’ and ‘unnatural acts’ last month. Jean has followed the case closely, and her letter asking for the Malawian government to repeal their archaic laws appeared in The Independent last week.

Jean, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT rights, said in a statement: “I warmly welcome President Bingu was Mutharika’s pardon of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, two men whose only crime was to love each other. Nobody deserves to be persecuted because of their sexuality, and I strongly hope this development paves the way for the country’s out-dated and repressive laws to finally be repealed.

“It is time for Malawi and the other African countries that still criminalise homosexuality to stand up for the rights of all their citizens, regardless of their sexual preference, by ensuring equality before the law for all LGBT individuals. Only then can people such as Steven and Tiwonge be free to live their lives without fear of abuse, discrimination or oppression.”