Zambia: Gay rights activist claims police withheld HIV drugs

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A gay rights activist, who is due in court in May, claims he was denied access to his tuberculosis and HIV medication.

Paul Kasonkomona was arrested earlier this month following a live television appearance in which he argued for same-sex relationships to be decriminalised in Zambia.

Sentences of 14 years can be issued for those convicted of same-sex sexual activity.

Mr Kasonkomona alleges police delayed access to his medication and that the actions put his life at risk.

His lawyers are suing for unlawful detention as he was kept in police cells for more than 48 hours before being charged.

He is also demanding damages for mental distress and injury.

The 38-year-old pleaded not guilty to being idle and disorderly in a public place.

Earlier this month, human rights group Friends of RAINKA warned of a “frightening increase” in homophobic persecution in Zambia.

They said it had been fuelled by the recent comments of Chief Madzimawe of the Ngoni, who said: “It is not a culture of Zambians, Africans and Ngonis to practise homosexuality and gay people should be caged.”