A court in the African nation of Kenya has affirmed the legality of using forced anal exams to determine male sexual orientation, despite a lawsuit filed that argued that the practice amounts to nothing more than degradation and even torture for those subjected to it. According to the court in Kenya, ruled over by Mombasa high court judge Mathew Emukule, forced anal exams of men believed to be gay do not violate the law, nor do they violate human rights.
Two men had recently sued the Kenyan government to cease the forced anal examination of men who are accused of being gay. In Kenya, in addition to being forced to submit to anal exams, suspected homosexual men are also forced to undergo HIV tests, The Guardian reports.
“I find no violation of human dignity, right to privacy and right to freedom of the petitioners.”
The ruling of the court in Kenya came on Thursday, less than a week after the massacre of 49 people in an Orlando gay nightclub. The Orlando terrorist attack has been labeled the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, and all accounts indicate it was perpetuated due to the sexual orientations of the victims.
The ruling of the high court in Kenya effectively dismisses the idea that forced anal exams are torturous degradation to those forced to submit.
On Twitter, someone claiming to represent the hacktivist group Anonymous claims to have shut down a Kenyan government website in response to the inexplicable ruling.
The two men who sued the government of Kenya over the country’s anti-gay law were arrested back in February of 2015 on suspicion of engaging in homosexual sex, which is a serious crime in Kenya. The pair still face those charges, and based upon Thursday’s ruling in Kenya, will get no relief from the nation’s high court. If they are convicted of homosexual sex, they could face 14 years each in jail.
“In their petition, the men said the anal examinations and HIV and hepatitis B tests they were forced to have amounted to torture and degrading treatment.”
According to the judge hearing the case in the high court in Kenya, if the accused men didn’t want to undergo the tests, they should have used their attorneys to seek injunctions prior to the tests taking place.
Eric Gitari is the executive director of the Kenyan National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, an organization that has supported the efforts of the men in Kenya to have the forced anal exams they underwent deemed human rights violations. According to Gitari, he was stunned by the decision read on Thursday in Kenya. He added that the men intend to appeal.
“I sat in court holding my chin in disbelief. 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.”
Based on the new judgement by the high court in Kenya, a citizen in Kenya can be arrested merely if it is rumored that they are gay and be forcibly subjected to anal exams as well as HIV and other tests. Gitari wondered if the very invasive, costly and time-consuming tests are a good use of the nation’s resources.
Amnesty International also quickly and unequivocally condemned the ruling of the Kenya court.
“Forcible anal examinations of men suspected of same-sex relationships is abhorrent, and violates the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment under international law. They should not be allowed to continue.”
An Amnesty International spokesman also added that “proving or disproving” consensual homosexuality is no business of the government of Kenya, saying that such measures violate the privacy rights of people living in Kenya.
What do you think? Did the Kenya high court overstep its authority? Do you think an appeal to the court in Kenya will result in a different, more equitable ruling for that LGBT community in the African nation?
[Image by Shutterstock]