The worst fears of a gay couple in Malawi and supporters across the world were realised today when they were sentenced to 14 years in jail with hard labour.
Steven Monjeza, 26, and 20-year-old Tiwonge Chimbalanga, convicted earlier this week of unnatural acts and gross indecency, now face "hell on earth" in the maximum security Chichiri prison in Blantyre, where they have been held on remand.
The sentence, the harshest possible that the judge could have handed down, provoked outrage from human rights activists in the southern African country, where homosexual acts are illegal, and from the international community.
The first same sex couple in Malawi to seek marriage will now join a population of 12,000 inmates scattered throughout the country's 23 prisons. The prisons were intended to house half that number, and high court judge Duncan Tambala once described them as "hell on earth."
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