Call for Kenya to end anal torture exams on gay men

Kenyan court legalises forced anal examsA Kenyan LGBT rights group is urging the country’s prosecuting authority to stop administering anal exams on arrested gay men.

The degrading practice usually involves doctors or other medical personnel inspecting the anus of the accused, often under duress, in an attempt to “prove” they engaged in anal sex.

In June 2016, the High Court in Mombasa ruled that the authorities could continue to force the exams on men as “evidence” in criminal prosecutions for consensual same-sex conduct, which is punisahble by five to 14 years in prison.

The case involved two men who were arbitrarily arrested in February 2015 in a bar on suspicion of being gay. They were interrogated and detained for four days. While in jail one of the men’s home was raided and a DVD of the television series Queer as Folk was found and was used as evidence against them.

The men were also taken to Makadara General Hospital under a court order and forced to sign consent forms for the exams. According to the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC), they were forced to strip naked, lay facing up, lift their legs in the air and cough as medical personnel inserted fingers and metallic objects up their rectum.

The prosecution of the men, who were further detained for months before being released on bail, is ongoing.

While the NGLHRC has appealed the ruling allowing the exams, it has also launched a petition addressed to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to put an end to the tests.

“The actions and conditions that the two went through constitute cruel, inhumane and degrading which is forbidden under article 25 of the Constitution of Kenya,” said the group.

It also noted that the exams amount to torture under the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which has been ratified by Kenya.

“Further, forced anal testing and HIV testing is a breach of medical ethics both in Kenya and internationally and has no probative evidential value in criminal prosecutions,” argues the NGLHRC.

It has called on the DPP to drop the charges against the men while the matter is under appeal and for his department to stop using the tests as they “violate fundamental rights”.

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