Thursday, June 16, 2016
Gays in Africa: A Kenyan court has upheld the use of anal examinations to determine a suspect's sexual orientation, dismissing the argument that the procedure amounts to torture and degrading treatment
"I find no violation of human dignity, right to privacy, and right to freedom of the petitioners," Mombasa High Court Judge Mathew Emukule said. 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 in February 2015 on suspicion of engaging in gay sex, which is a criminal offense in Kenya. They still face the charges and, if convicted, could face 14 years in jail. In their petition, the men said that the anal examinations and HIV and hepatitis B tests they were forced to have amounted to being subjected to torture and degrading treatment. The judge said that the petitioners should have used their lawyers to seek injunction orders to avoid undergoing the tests. "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," said Eric Gitari, the executive director of the Kenyan National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. The court judgment means that someone can be arrested on a rumor that they are gay and subjected to these tests, he said. "Do we want to use the nation's scarce resources on this?"