Amnesty International has lauded Malawi for suspending laws against same-sex relationships describing the move as a step in the right direction.

“Amnesty International welcomes Minister (Ralph) Kasambara’s statement and hopes it serves as the first step toward ending discrimination and persecution based on real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity in Malawi,” said Noel Kututwa, the rights group’s director for southern Africa.

Homosexuality is banned in Malawi – as it is in 36 other African states – and carries a maximum sentence of 14 years, but Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara said he wanted debate on the issue before parliament decided whether to keep the laws or not.

A court in Malawi has stopped government from getting Call Detail Record (CDRs) from phone operators to roll-out the US6.8 million ‘spy machine’

CDRs provide detailed information including who called which number; details of calls received; time and duration of calls; location where call was made or received; SMS sent and received; type of handset used and other detailed subscriber information.

“Judge Healy Potani grant the injunction to stop Macra from rolling out pending an inter-parties hearing  and this means that in the meantime Macra can install the machine, but cannot start the intended purposes until further determination by the court,” Lawyer Ralph Kasambara said.

He had argued that the machine was not justifiable and was a violation of the right to privacy.