Amnesty: Release Zambian men arrested over alleged homosexual acts
September 12, 2013 -- Updated 0952 GMT (1752 HKT)
Philip Mubiana (covering his face) and James Mwape (left) arrive at the Kapiri magistrate court on May 8, 2013 in Lusaka.
- Authorities subject them to anal examinations without their consent, a rights group says
- Amnesty International: It was the second detention for the two men
- Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries
(CNN) -- Amnesty International is calling on Zambia to release two men who have been in jail since May on charges of engaging in homosexual acts "against the order of nature."
James Mwansa and Philip Mubiana, both 22, will appear in court Monday for a judge to decide if they should be detained longer.
"It is high time that individuals stopped being persecuted because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Human rights are about the dignity and equality of all people," said Simeon Mawanza, Amnesty International's Zambia researcher.
The pair was arrested after a neighbor reported them to the police, according to Amnesty International.
Authorities subjected them to anal examinations without their consent and forced them to confess, the human rights group said.
"Anal examinations conducted to 'prove' same-sex conduct are scientifically invalid, and if they were conducted without the men's consent, contravene the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment under international law," said Simeon Mawanza, an Amnesty researcher in Zambia.
It was the second detention for the two men in recent days, the group said. On April 25, authorities arrested them, and later released them on bail on May 2.
They were arrested again just four days later after a neighbor went to the police, according to Amnesty. Both have pleaded not guilty.
Zambian officials were not immediately available for comment.
Homosexuality is illegal in Zambia and most African countries based on remnants of sodomy laws introduced during the British colonial era and perpetuated by cultural beliefs.
Punishments across the continent range from fines to years in prison.
Last year, a Cameroon appeals court upheld a three-year sentence against a man convicted of homosexuality for texting his male friend to say, "I'm very much in love with you."
South Africa -- one of the more progressive nations in the continent on the issue -- was the first African country to impose a constitutional ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation.
But sexual violence against lesbians has become so common in South Africa, the nation has coined the term "corrective rape" to describe it.
A handful of other nations issue a death penalty for consensual same-sex relations, including Saudi Arabia and Iran, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0242 GMT (1042 HKT)
Successful launch of lunar orbiter, seen as a precursor for a planned mission to the surface of the moon, marks significant advance for the country's space program.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1915 GMT (0315 HKT)
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, shot while standing guard at Ottawa's National War Memorial, was known for his easygoing manner and smile.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 2006 GMT (0406 HKT)
Non-stop chatter about actress' appearance is nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 2208 GMT (0608 HKT)
CEO's 30-min Putonghua chat is the perfect charm offensive for Facebook's last untapped market.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0345 GMT (1145 HKT)
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 2058 GMT (0458 HKT)
Air New Zealand's new 'Hobbit' safety video stars Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, elves and orcs.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1414 GMT (2214 HKT)
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0333 GMT (1133 HKT)
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 1748 GMT (0148 HKT)
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0959 GMT (1759 HKT)
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1021 GMT (1821 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.