Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu on Monday pardoned a gay couple who was sentenced to 15 years in prison over ‘‘unnatural acts’‘. The amnesty was granted for Freedom Day celebration in Africa, a local press said.

The sentencing of 39-year old Japhet Chataba and 31-year old Steven Samba at the end of 2019, caused tensions with the United States.

The U.S Ambassador to Lusaka, Daniel Foote, then said he was horrified by the court’s decision, arousing harsh response in conservative Zambia.

The U.S recalled its ambassador after President Lungu said the ambassador was no longer welcomed in the country.

Chataba and Samba are among 2,984 prisoners pardoned by President Lungu, the newspaper reported.

Zambia does not explicitly prohibit homosexual relations, but its Constitution frowns on ‘‘any carnal relations against natural order’‘.