Reports from Malawi indicate that President Bingu wa Mutharika will pardon Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza. The two were arrested after they affirmed their relationship in a traditional engagement ceremony in December. They were convicted in May of committing acts of gross indecency and initially sentenced to 14 years at hard labor. The Council welcomes the statements from the White House and the U.S. Department of State on their release.
The case was also followed closely in the U.S. Congress, where Representatives Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced House Resolution 1335
calling on the Government of Malawi to release Tiwonge and Steven.
Both the State Department and the White House condemned the harsh and unjustified sentence, as did House Foreign Affairs Chairman Berman (D-CA) and Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI). Those statements can be found here.
U.S. Department of State
White House Statement
Chairman Howard Berman
Senator Russ Feingold
Senator Feingold, Chairman of the U.S. Senate's ForeignRelations Subcommittee on African Affairs, also sent a letter to the President of Malawi expressing concern at the human rights implications raised by the case.