News Brief

Botswana is Considering Overturning the Decision to Decriminalize Homosexuality

The Attorney General is challenging the court ruling citing that the presiding judges made an error of law.

Last month, Botswana's High Court ruled that sections 164 and 167 of the country's Penal Code were unconstitutional after they heard the case of a student with the advocacy group LEGABIBO admitted as a friend of the court. The colonial-era laws, which implicitly criminalize homosexuality, saw a person in contravention of them being sentenced to up to seven years in prison for "carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature."


Attorney General Abraham Keetshabe is challenging the court's June 11th ruling after reading the judgement as he feels that the presiding Judges Tafa, Leburu and Dube did not arrive at the correct conclusion in terms of the law. Keetshabe said, "I have thoroughly read the 132-page-long judgment and I am of the view that the High Court erred in arriving at this conclusion," and went on to add that he would be appealing the decision at the Court of Appeal, according to the BBC.

What was a landmark ruling and victory for Botswana's LGBT community, especially after Kenya's High Court made the decision to maintain the criminal status of homosexuality in May, now seems to be in jeopardy once again. After coming to a unanimous decision, the presiding judges responded by saying that, "Sexual orientation is not a fashion statement. It's an important attribute of one's personality. All people are entitled to autonomy over their sexual expression."

Keetshabe has not yet revealed any further details about his intention to appeal the ruling.


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Photo by Oupa Bopape/Gallo Images via Getty Images

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