Saturday 18 November 2017

'I sat in court holding my chin in disbelief' - Judge allows usage of 'anal probes' to determine if arrested men are gay

A Kenyan court has upheld the use of anal examinations to determine a suspect's sexual orientation.

Mombasa High Court Judge Mathew Emukule said he found no violation of rights or the law and dismissed the petition.

Two men had sought a court ruling to stop enforced anal examinations and HIV tests of men accused of being gay after they were subjected to the procedures.

The two were arrested in a bar near Ukunda along Kenya's Indian Ocean coast in February 2015 on suspicion of engaging in gay sex, which is a criminal offence in Kenya.

In their petition, they said the anal examinations and HIV and hepatitis B tests they were forced to have amounted to being subjected to torture and degrading treatment.

The men still face the gay sex charges and, if convicted, could be sentenced to 14 years in jail.

The judge said the petitioners should have used their lawyers to seek injunction orders to avoid undergoing the tests.

"I sat in court holding my chin in disbelief," said Eric Gitari, the executive director of the Kenyan National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, which has supported the petition. He said the men will appeal.

"It's so painful when we are trying to encourage the gay community to go to court to affirm their rights, the courts are instead affirming violation of their rights," he said.

Thursday's judgment means that someone can be arrested on a rumour that they are gay and subjected to these tests, Mr Gitari said.

He added: "Do we want to use the nation's scarce resources on this?"

Press Association

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