A Mwanza court is expected to give its ruling Friday, December 15 on whether it shall free on bond two women accused of entering into same-sex marriage, says Tanzania’s Global Publishers.
The accused, Milembe Suleiman and 25-year-old Janeth Shonza, who is a Fourth Year law student at the St. Augustine University of Tanzania, are accused of exchanging vows, contrary to Tanzanian law on marriage, which only recognises heterosexual marriages. The alleged wedding took place in Mwanza in the first week of December, 2017.
Others charged in court alongside Ms Suleiman and Ms Shonza include Aneth Mkuki, who was the officiating minister during the two’s ‘wedding’ and Richard Fabian, who is accused of sharing media (pictures and video) from Ms Suleiman and Ms Shonza’s nuptials.
State prosecutor Emmanuel Luvinga has requested Judge Mwandamizi Mfawidhi to deny Ms Suleiman and Ms Shonza a court bond, arguing the two will interfere with witnesses in the case.
Mr Luvinga further argued that since the two committed an act deemed to be ‘very criminal’ by the society, their lives will be in danger should they be freed on bond.
The accused persons’ lawyers, Mashaka Tuguta, Jebra Kambole and Ogastini Kulwa, opposed Mr Luvinga’s application, saying it is the right of accused persons to be granted bond.
The defense lawyers further argued that the prosecution’s arguments were mere speculations, which were not founded on facts.
Dar es Salaam police head, Lazaro Mambosasa, in October, 2017 said: “Tanzanian law forbids this act between people of the same sex, it is a violation of our country’s laws.”
Gay male sex is punishable by anything from 30 years to life imprisonment under Tanzanian law. There is no such ban on lesbian relations, says AFP.
According to Amnesty International, homosexuality is illegal in 38 of 54 African states and is punishable by death in Mauritania, Somalia and Sudan.