Gay group challenges Botswana sodomy law

30 April 2009
Independent Online
Source

Gay group challenges Botswana sodomy law

Gabarone – Members of a banned gay organisation in Botswana are suing the government in a landmark case aiming to legalise same-sex relationships in the southern African country, a lawyer said Thursday.

Prisca Mogapi and Caine Youngman, both members of the outlawed Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (Legabibo), filed the suit to challenge the sodomy law criminalising same-sex relations, attorney Uyapo Ndadi said.

“Due to the discriminatory nature of Botswana’s laws, gays and lesbians are viewed as criminals,” she said.

“The law that criminalises homosexuality violates the right to privacy and freedom of association.”

Ndadi is the legal officer for a local advocacy group, the Botswana Network of Ethics, Law and HIV and Aids, which is supporting the lawsuit.

A legal challenge to the sodomy law was tossed out in 2003, when a Botswana appeals court ruled that the country was not ready to accept homosexuality.

The government in 2007 rejected Legabibo’s application to register as an officially recognised organisation, meaning the group is effectively banned from operating in the country.

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