President Edgar Lungu has pardoned and released the Kapiri gay couple who were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for crimes against the order of nature.

According to a government gazette, released Friday, Stephen Sambo, 31, and Japhet Chataba, 39 were part of the 2,984 inmates that were pardoned to commemorate Africa Freedom Day.

Japhet Chataba and Steven Samba were sentenced by the Lusaka high court on 27 November 2019 for practicing homosexuality.

The 15 year jail term slapped on the couple horrified then US Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote who described the sentencing as a persecution that can do untold damage to Zambia’s international reputation by demonstrating that human rights in Zambia are not a universal guarantee.

In a statement, Foote said such sentences perpetuate persecution against disenfranchised groups and minorities, such as people from other tribes or political affiliations, albinos, the disabled, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and anyone who is deemed “different.”

Foote said he was personally horrified with the sentencing of two men, who had a consensual relationship, to 15 years imprisonment for “crimes against the order of nature.

he expressed concern that why such offenders were getting heavier sentences, government officials who were involved in corrupt activities were left scot free.

President Lungu took offence with the remarks of the American diplomat and demanded that he must be recalled by the American government on ground that he was championing for right that were illegal in Zambia.