Two Lilongwe-based men freed after their arrest on suspicion that they were engaging in homosexuality have hinted that they will push for an investigation into the conduct of community policing members who arrested them.
The duo claims to have been physically assaulted by the group and that the home of one of them was ransacked.
Police at Kanengo in Lilongwe arrested 19-year-old Cuthbert Kulemeka and Kelvin Gonani, 39, on suspicion that they committed an offence under Section 153 of the Penal Code.
Private practice lawyer Khumbo Bonzo Soko, who was representing the two, said in an interview his clients will be insisting on the opening of a full criminal inquiry into the conduct of the group.
He insisted that his clients did not commit any crime necessitating their arrests.
Said Soko: “We would like to put it on record that the two men did not commit any crime that should have necessitated their arrest in the first place.
“Neither of them laid any complaint before the country’s law enforcement agencies and they would accordingly want to contest any allegation that the interaction that they had with each other before their arrest had any element of assault whatsoever.”
Their arrest followed commotion that erupted at Area 25 Township in the city after some residents got angry with allegations that the two engaged in homosexuality act.
However, their charges were dropped by government in a statement issued on Friday by Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu amid pressure from Western development partners, notably United States of America and Germany as well as Human Rights Watch (HRW).
In the statement, the ministry said after conducting its investigations into the arrests, there was no evidence that the two indulged in consensual sex.
Malawi suspended enforcement of anti-gay laws, among them Sections 137(a), 153, 154 and 156 of the Penal Code pending a High Court review of their constitutionality, but this has not been concluded, HRW said.
Malawi is also a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which guarantees the right to privacy and the right to non-discrimination of all people. n