When Madonna talks, it appears the Malawian government listens.
The Queen of Pop, who launched a vocal campaign to free a gay Malawian couple locked up for homosexuality, is now celebrating their release.
After being sentenced to 14 years hard labor for gross indecency and unnatural acts, Steven Monjenza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga were released on Saturday by the president of Malawi on "humanitarian" grounds.
Upon hearing the news of the couple's imprisonment, Madonna said she was "shocked and saddened" by the government's decision, and called upon people all over the world to sound off against the ruling. Homosexuality is still illegal in the African country.
Once the two were freed, Madonna took to her blog to thank the thousands of people who joined her in her campaign to release the couple.
"I have always believed love conquers all—yesterday I got to see it in action," Madonna said in a statement. "In the last week over 30,000 of you added your name to mine calling for the release of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalangal—the Malawi couple sentenced to 14 years hard labor for the "crime" of homosexuality. With incredible joy, I am writing to share with you that Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika has ordered their release."
Government officials from all over the world also called for the release of the couple.
Although Monjeza and Chimbalanga are out of prison, their travails aren't over. Activists are still working to find a safe haven for the couple, who were taken into custody following a commitment ceremony.
"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," Madonna said.
Madonna has adopted two children from Malawi, and is currently building a school for girls in the country through her Raising Malawi charity.
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