Gay Malawi couple plead not guilty to indecency charges

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A gay couple in Malawi who held a wedding ceremony last weekend have denied charges of gross public indecency.

Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza had a traditional ceremony in the south African country on Saturday.

Malawi punishes homosexuality with up to 14 years in prison and the couple were arrested.

They appeared at a court in Malawi’s biggest city Blantyre and are expected to ask for bail on Monday.

Police on Tuesday they would be held in custody and could face further charges.

The UK is currently the largest bilateral donor of aid to Malawi with a £75 million programme in 2009/2010.

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has said there should be “no blank cheque” for countries which “violate human rights”.

He told the Scotsman that ministers should call for the charges against the couples should be dropped.