In late February, Rod 2.0 mentioned that members of Botswana's small gay community would sue the government over its anti-sodomy laws. The landmark case began on April 15. There is an update this week.
Justice Zibani Makhwade has ordered the Botswana Network on Law, Ethics and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) to file additional affidavits, reports the Botswana Gazette.
[Plaintiff Caine] Youngman has petitioned the High Court to repeal the section of the penal code that outlaws homosexuality. In his founding affidavit Youngman says he has never been able to freely express his sexuality in Botswana because of the law that criminalises sex between people of the same sex and referring to the act as ‘carnal knowledge against the order of nature’.
"In order to do so I have to cross the border into South Africa where my sexuality is recognised and protected by the law," he said. Youngman says he hates to cross the border constantly as he suffers grave inconvenience both financially and regarding travel time. "Sometimes I fear for my safety in South Africa, in fact I was nearly hijacked before."
BONELA has been ordered to file its affidavits by May 13th.
The lawsuit targets Section 164 of the Penal Code, which criminalizes same sex relationships. The government is opposing the lawsuit and claims Youngman has no standing to file suit because "he had not been charged with an offence under the Penal Code."
Last year, the Botswanan government moved to amend the country's Employment Act so as "to make it illegal for employers to fire someone if they are suspected of being gay, or in relation to a worker's HIV status," reported Care2Care.com. LGBT activists hope this will convince the court to nullify the sodomy statute.