New York: Queen of Pop Madonna has blasted a Malawi judge for sentencing a couple to 14 years of hard labour in prison just because they are gay.
Madonna, 51, who was clearly shaken by the conviction and harsh sentencing of openly gay Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, and Steven Monjeza, 26, expressed her shock and disappointment.
“I am shocked and saddened by the decision made by the Malawian court, which sent two innocent men to prison,” the New York Daily News quoted her as saying in a statement posted on her web site on May 21.
“Malawi took a giant step backward. The world is filled with pain and suffering; therefore, we must support out basic human right to love and be loved.
“I call upon the progressive men and women of Malawi - and around the world - to challenge this decision in the name of human dignity and equal rights for all,” she added.
The two men were arrested under Malawi’s colonial-era laws banning homosexuality after throwing an engagement party at the hotel where Chimbalanga worked.
The two were taken into custody on December 27, convicted May 18 and sentenced May 20 to the maximum term.
Their lawyer said the two men will appeal the conviction.