Court clears HIV treatment and human rights advocate Paul Kasonkomona in case highlighting free speech, recognition of men who have sex with men

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PaulKasonkomonaA Zambian High Court today affirmed the acquittal of human rights activist Paul Kasonkomona today in a case that highlighted obstacles to HIV prevention and treatment services in a country where sex between men remains a crime.

Kasonkomona was arrested in 2013 shortly after speaking on a local talk show about the need for Zambia to decriminalize gay sex and recognize the needs of its gay citizens to more effectively target its responses to HIV. He was acquitted in 2014, but the government appealed his acquittal. Today, according to a press release from the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, which supported his defense, Kasonkomana cited the “chilling effect” of his case on free speech in Zambia during the last two years, and called the judgement “a great relief.”

The Zambian activist has been arrested in his country before, for demonstrating on behalf of others, who like him live with HIV and have had to struggle for access to effective treatment.

For more on his work see Science Speaks first coverage of his case here.

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