A Kenyan court has upheld its decision to hold anal examinations of men who are suspected of homosexual activities, despite a law that argues the practice is degrading and painful for people who are subjected to it.
The high court in the city of Mombasa announced the verdict after reviewing the case of two men who were arrested on suspicion of gay sex in a bar in February 2015. Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya and can land a punishment of 14 years in jail. The two offenders were subjected to the highly invasive and humiliating procedure apart from the mandatory HIV and Hepatitis B tests, and consequently sued the government to stop their invasive treatment.
However, Justice Anyara Emukule of the Mombasa High Court dismissed their petition on Thursday, stating the two men “willingly and voluntarily consented” to the tests.
The judgment has raised concerns from LGBTQ advocates who think it give grounds for anyone to be arrested, simply based on a rumor.
“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. “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.”
This is terrible for all East Africa , that a high court can give such an inhumane ruling, very sad. https://t.co/5nrckqcoRn— Dr. Frank Mugisha (@frankmugisha) June 16, 2016
The High Court has ruled that anal testing is a legitimate and reasonable way of proving the crime of homosexual sex in Kenya. So inhumane!— Eric Gitari (@EricGitari) June 16, 2016
Earlier this month, Newsweek reported three gay Ugandan refugees who were sent to prison in Nairobi because they were found in possession of lube, condoms and LGBTQ pamphlets form a nearby health center.
To the officer, “that was the evidence that we were gay and we had come to destroy Kenya with our habits,” recalls one of the victims, known only as Nelson.
Many other African countries, like Cameroon, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda and Zambia, also still view homosexuality as an illegal act.
A few years ago, a Ugandan politician, in cahoots with American evangelical Christians, even unsuccessfully tried to pass a bill to impose a death penalty for gay sexual acts.
Check out Judge Emukule’s disturbing ruling above.