One half of Malawian couple is seeking asylum in Canada

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Tiwonge Chimbalanga, one half of the Malawian couple sentenced to 14 years’ hard labour before being released in May, is seeking asylum in Canada.

According to the Pan African News Agency, Mr Chimbalanga’s asylum claim has been confirmed by an activist at Malawi’s Centre for the Development of People.

Mr Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza were arrested back in December 2009 under Malawi’s sodomy and indecency laws, but were reluctantly pardoned by the country’s president in May this year. Following their release, the couple split, giving different accounts of their relationship to the press.

Mr Monjeza claimed he had been coerced into the symbolic engagement ceremony at which he and Mr Chimbalanga were arrested, and said he was renouncing his homosexuality.

Mr Chimbalanga denied that his former partner had been forced into the ceremony but said that he was not disappointed and would find another man to marry.