Botswana court hears bid to scrap anti-gay laws

Africa

The High Court in Botswana on Thursday started hearing an application seeking to decriminalise homosexuality, in a landmark case for Africa’s legal response to same-sex relationships.

Botswana is touted as one of Africa’s most democratic nations, yet homosexuality is outlawed under the country’s penal code of 1965.

An unnamed applicant is challenging two sections of that code under which offenders face a jail sentence of up to seven years.

“These sections… limit me to interact with others who identify in the same way for fear of imprisonment,” said the applicant in documents read by lawyer Gosego Lekgowe in the High Court in Gaborone.

“We are not looking for people to agree with homosexuality but to be tolerant,” said the applicant identified by their initials LM.

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