Anti-Gay Laws Challenged in Botswana
May 4, 2001
GABORONE, BotswanaA Botswana resident accused of
engaging in sexual relations with another man has filed an application in the
countrys High Court challenging the states "unnatural sexual
liaisons" laws, the Pan African News agency reports.
Utjijwa Kanani has gone to court to challenge the constitutionality of the
provisions in Botswanas Penal Code outlawing consensual relations between
Kanani does not dispute the facts in the case and readily admits that he
was found in bed with another man. But he says that the offense he is alleged
to have committedhaving unnatural sexshould no longer be the subject
of criminal sanction and the sections of the constitution that bar such
conduct should be declared null and void.
"I therefore pray that this court grant an order declaring that
sections 164 and 167, and therefore by reference section 165, of the penal
code are ultra vires to the constitution," PAN quotes Kanani in his
Kanani is basing his challenge on provisions in the countrys
constitution which prohibit gender-based discrimination and guarantee freedom
of association. He says he is being prosecuted for "crimes" a woman
would not be charged with and that the law unfairly restricts his rights of
Kanani was found in bed with Graham Norrie, a foreign national, in 1995
after a police raid. Norrie, who was arrested and charged with indecent
conduct and having unnatural sex, pleaded guilty without evidence being led in
court. He was subsequently fined and deported.
Kanani claims that he brokered a deal with the police to be a witness
against Norrie in the case in exchange for charges against him being dropped.
But authorities later charged him with the same offense after Norrie pleaded
guilty without evidence being produced in court.
[Home] [World] [Botswana]