Malawi has imposed a moratorium on anti-homosexual laws pending a decision on whether to repeal the legislation, Justice Minister Samuel Tembenu has said.
A review of all colonial-area sodomy laws will be launched in consultation with the people of Malawi, he added. Mr Tembenu also ordered the release of two men charged with having sex "against the order of nature".
One human rights activist describes the move as a step in the right direction.
However, many Malawians are not happy with the decision and religious leaders have asked the government not to relent to pressure from Western donors by allowing same-sex relationships.
Since 2012, the US government has put more than $350m (£230m) into supporting gay rights groups in sub-Saharan Africa. Read more via BBC