This story was originally published by Global Press Journal.Stephen spent two years in prison, where he was regarded as a danger to others and subjected to weeks of solitary confinement should he make contact with another man.Police arrested him after he was found in a hotel room with a man; they subjected him to the humiliation of an anal examination, Stephen says, and charged him with having carnal knowledge of another person against the order of nature.
He pleaded not guilty, and after a yearlong trial, heavily covered by the media, he was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Stephen was released two years later in 2020 — one of nearly 3,000 prisoners to receive a presidential pardon.In a country where same-sex relationships are criminalized and the threat of a lengthy prison sentence looms, it’s difficult for gay men to live openly.Zambian law lists same-sex relationships as “unnatural offenses,” under the same subheading that includes having “carnal knowledge of an animal.” The accused can face challenges finding representation as lawyers are reluctant to take on these cases, fearing social stigma.
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