Authorities in Zambia, where consensual gay sex is a felony punishable by up to 14 years in prison, are searching for women suspected of being lesbians.
Young lesbian couple being hunted by police for being affectionate on social media.zambian gay Laws need to change in Zambia. pic.twitter.com/MFobzZNcoF
— Douglas Mushinge (@Shibukoombe) January 30, 2018
Photographs of the pair acting affectionately have circulated on social media—In one, one of the women rests her head on the other. In another, one is standing behind the other with her hands on her friend’s stomach.
“We are investigating the issue of those pictures of the two girls which have been circulating on social media,” said police spokesperson Esther Katongo. Officials are encouraging anyone with information to turn the women in.
LGBT people face discrimination, harassment and violence in Zambia, where authorities have been known to use forced anal examinations to uncover same-sex activity. A 2010 survey indicated that only 2% of Zambians find homosexuality to be morally acceptable.
After the arrest of a gay couple in 2013, Zambian President Edgar Lungu (above, with Pope Francis) declared, “Those advocating gay rights should go to hell. That issue is foreign to this country.”
Last year deputy health minister Hamisi Kigwangalla warned that those who “advertised homosexual activities” online would be targeted by authorities.