Kenya | Courts to consider appeal against forced anal tests


The Kenyan courts are considering an appeal against a 2016 ruling that allowed the authorities to force anal exams on men accused of homosexuality.

A hearing was held this past Wednesday in the matter, which is being pursued by the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC).

The case concerns two men who were subjected to forced anal exams, HIV tests and Hepatitis B tests at Mombasa’s Madaraka Hospital in February 2015 in a bid to find evidence of same-sex sexual conduct. The individuals were interrogated and detained for four days.

The NGLHRC argued that the exams are degrading and violated the constitutional rights to dignity, fair trial and privacy of the two men.

In July 2016, the Mombasa High Court ruled that the invasive procedures as well as the forced HIV and Hepatitis B tests were constitutional and could be used as evidence against the accused.

The NGLHRC now hopes that the decision will be overturned on appeal, noting that the exams “have no scientific basis” and are thus unreliable.

“We all deserve to be treated with dignity and afforded our basic rights, as enshrined in the Kenyan Constitution,” said Head of Legal Affairs at NGLHRC, Njeri Gateru. “The humiliation and pain caused by these useless anal examinations will follow our clients for the rest of their lives.”

The Kenya Medical Association has also come out against the forced anal exams. It said last month that it had decided “to condemn and discourage any form of forced examination of clients, even in the guise of discovering crimes”.

The practice is also in violation of international professional medical principles and has been equated to torture by human rights groups.

Homosexuality is outlawed in Kenya, with penalties including five to 14 years in prison. LGBT expression is also banned by the country’s censors.

Last month, the Tunisian government agreed to stop carrying out forced anal exams for “evidence” of homosexual conduct following pressure from the UN Human Rights Council.

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