Madonna Condemns Malawi Gay Conviction

One of Malawi‘s ardent supporters has been “shocked and saddened” by a Malawian court’s decision to sentence a gay couple to 14 years in jail, where they will be subject to hard labor. Madonna, who has adopted two children from the African nation, said Malawi’s sentencing of “two innocent men to prison” was shocking. “As a matter of principle, I believe in equal rights for all people, no matter what their gender, race, color, religion, or sexual orientation,” Madonna said in a statement to Access Hollywood.

The sentencing has earned condemnation from big donor countries like the United States and United Kingdom, which is Malawi’s largest donor. The U.S., through Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, said Washington “strongly condemns the conviction and harsh sentencing.” The British government also expressed “dismay” over the sentencing, but said that it would continue delivering aid to the African nation.

Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga were jailed in December after they held an engagement ceremony. They were sentenced last week on charges of gross indecency and unnatural acts. Homosexuality is prohibited in Malawi.