Harare – Police in Zimbabwe have detained two gay activists on charges of keeping pornographic materials and insulting President Robert Mugabe, a lawyer said on Tuesday.
Both worked for Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (Galz), the country’s only gay rights group, which was raided by police at the weekend, lawyer Dzimbabwe Chimbga said.
Ellen Chademana, the group’s administrator, and Ignatius Muhambi, an accountant, were both picked up after the raid.
“We had been made to understand that they would appear in court on Monday but as of now they are still in custody,” Chimbga said.
“The initial charges are that they were found in possession of pornographic material. Now the police want to add a charge of insulting the president,” he said.
“They are saying during the raid they found a poster which said things which are not good about the president,” he added.
“We haven’t seen the said pornographic material or the poster. We are going to the high court to seek their release through an urgent chamber application.”
Homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe, although the group Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe is allowed to operate.
Mugabe has railed against the gay community for more than a decade, once calling gays “worse than pigs and dogs”.
Neighbouring South Africa is the only nation on the continent that gives equal rights to gays.
In nearby Malawi, a gay couple was sentenced to 14 years in prison last week after holding the country’s first same-sex wedding.