May 29, 2020 at 9:33 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Zambia president pardons gay couple sentenced under colonial-era sodomy law
Zambia, gay news, Washington Blade
Zambia President Edgar Lungu. (Photo by kremlin.ru via Wikimedia Commons)

The president of Zambia has pardoned a gay couple who was sentenced to 15 years in prison under the country’s colonial-era sodomy law.

Reuters reported the two men are among the upwards of 3,000 people who President Edgar Lungu pardoned on May 22 in commemoration of Africa Freedom Day, which marks the anniversary of the creation of the Organization of African Unity.

A Zambian court last fall sentenced the couple to 15 years in prison after they were convicted of “crimes against the order of nature.”

Then-U.S. Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote sharply criticized the sentence. The U.S. subsequently recalled him after Lungu condemned his comments.

Zambia is among the dozens of countries in which consensual same-sex sexual relations remain illegal. President Trump last year tapped outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell to lead a campaign that encourages nations to decriminalize homosexuality.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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