London, May 31 (IANS) Pop diva Madonna has thanked fans for backing a campaign calling for the release of two jailed gay men in Malawi after the pair was freed at the weekend.
‘I have always believed love conquers all – yesterday I got to see it in action. In the last week over 30,000 of you added your name to mine calling for the release of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga – the Malawi couple sentenced to 14 years hard labour for the ‘crime’ of homosexuality,’ she posted on her Raising Malawi website.
‘With incredible joy, I am writing to share with you that Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika has ordered their release. Steven and Tiwonge were freed on Saturday night. They have won their freedom and you have been a part of it. We celebrate this astounding turn of events with Steven, Tiwonge, and the countless Malawians fighting for their release. It is a historic day for Malawi.’
Earlier this month (May 10), the pop superstar branded the incarceration of Monjeza and Chimbalanga ‘backward’ after they were both sentenced to 14 years behind bars for being homosexual.
She urged Malawians and her followers across the world to protest the judge’s decision by adding their names to a petition against the ruling, reports contactmusic.com.
After receiving the petition and meeting with United Nation ambassadors, Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika pardoned the pair and ordered their immediate release on Saturday.
And Madonna, who adopted two of her children, David and Mercy, from the country and is financing the construction of a girls’ school in the capital, is delighted but at the same time she is concerned about their safety.
‘Though they are free from prison, sadly their safety and future in Malawi is still unknown. I hope this is just the beginning of our work together. Human rights injustices continue for so many Malawians facing poverty, disease, and a lack of critical resources.
‘There are still over two million orphans and vulnerable children who need to experience love’s embrace. It is going to take the love and creativity of all of us to bring justice to the people of Malawi,’ she wrote.