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No happy ever after

Gays in poor countries are under attack

TWO gay rights activists in Zimbabwe were freed from custody on Friday 28th May, where it is claimed they were abused and tortured. They await trial in June, facing charges of possessing indecent material and insulting the country’s president, Robert Mugabe. Earlier this month two gay men in Malawi were given 14 years of hard labour in prison, the harshest sentence the court could impose, for “gross indecency” and “unnatural acts”. Zimbabwe and Malawi are just part of crackdown on gay rights in much of the developing world, and particularly in Africa. Some 80 countries criminalise consensual homosexual sex. Over half rely on “sodomy” laws left over from British colonialism. But many are trying to make their laws even more repressive. In Uganda, a bill proposed in October would give jail sentences for those failing to report gay people to the police, and the death penalty for gay sex if one of the participants is HIV-positive.

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