Kenya Upholds Use Of Anal Exam To Determine Sexual Orientation
A Kenyan Court has recently given a ruling allowing the use of anal examinations in order to inquire about a suspect’s sexual orientation. This ruling can be viewed as significant because Kenya is a country where same-sex relations are considered a crime and one could be imprisoned for 14 years if found guilty of the offence.
The case involved two men who were arrested in a bar near Ukunda, a town along Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast, in February 2015 on being suspected to have engaged in a homosexual activity. They argued against the forceful use of this anal examination and HIV tests of homosexual men as amounting to ‘torture and degrading treatment’. However, their arguments were dismissed, and as further highlighted in the words of Mombasa High Court Judge, Matthew Emukule, there was “no violation of human dignity, right to privacy and the to freedom of the petitioners”.
Numerous people and organizations met this decision with excessive criticism and disapproval. Kenyan National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission fully backed the petition taken by these two men to courts. Eric Gitari, the Executive Director, stressed his utter disbelief towards this decision, because while they were trying to provide avenues for the gay community to resort to courts for protection of their rights, the courts were crushing those rights instead. He also criticized the ruling showcasing the government’s utilization of limited resources for arresting men over mere ‘rumours’ for being gay and exposing them to these tests. Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, Muthoni Wanyeki further argued that these forcible anal examinations violated the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment under international law and were in violation of the right to privacy.