Two Kenyan men who were arrested on the suspicion of having gay sex have launched a court case challenging the constitutionality of forceful gay anal tests which men suspected of having gay sex are subjected to.
Homosexual acts are illegal in Kenya and are punishable by up to 14 years in prison, just last year, William Ruto, Kenya’s deputy president, spoke out against homosexuality ahead of Barack Obama’s visit, vowing to defend the country against any “dirty” ideas. The US President in turn addressed the matter, directly challenging Uhuru Kenyatta, the Kenyan president, on the issue of gay rights in the country. So obviously gay rights are a touchy subject in the country.
A lawyer on Wednesday however submitted arguments for the men during the first day of the hearing where the men were seeking a ruling by the court to stop gay anal tests. The lawyer, Sande Ligunya argued the point that the gay anal tests infringed on the citizens right to privacy and a fair trial.
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Her clients who were arrested in a bar near Ukunda along Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast in February 2015 on suspicion of engaging in gay sex were forced to undergo anal examinations following a magistrate order to that regard. The High Court in Mombasa has given government lawyers a week to respond.
Human rights groups have openly condemned the examinations with UN experts describing the gay anal tests to determine sexuality as “medically worthless”. Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s regional head concurs stating;
“Such examinations without consent or medical cause are an absolute violation of the privacy not to mention bodily integrity…The strongest possible message must be sent to medical professionals about it.”
Campaign group Human Rights Watch (HRW), which has called for a global ban on the practice, also said: “Under international law, forced anal examinations are a form of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment that may amount to torture.”