Kenyan court to hear challenge to degrading anal exams

Court of Appeal in Mombasa (Photo courtesy of The Star)
Court of Appeal in Mombasa (Photo courtesy of The Star)

A Kenyan appeal court will hear arguments on Oct. 11 challenging the constitutionality of anal examinations, which are used by law enforcement in a mistaken belief that the intrusive tests can determine whether a man is homosexual.

The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Kenya’s non-governmental LGBTI legal advocacy organization, is bringing the challenge. The NGLHRC reported:

Appeal court to hear case against forced anal examinations

On Wednesday 11 October 2017, the Court of Appeal in Mombasa will hear a case against the state’s cruel and degrading treatment of two Kenyan men from Kwale County. The two men were arrested on February 2015 on suspicion of engaging in consensual sexual acts in private on dates unknown, as a result of rumours that they may be gay.

The men were then subjected to forced HIV testing and anal examinations under a magistrate’s order.

The violating examinations, which included being made to lie with their legs up in a humiliating position and having instruments forced into their rectums, are widely accepted to have no medical merit.

Kenya Medical Association logo
Kenya Medical Association logo

The Kenya Medical Association (KMA), which is the leading professional organization working to improve the welfare of doctors and advocating for quality healthcare for all Kenyans, released a statement to condemn forced examinations only last month.

The KMA stated on 23 September 2017 that it resolved:

“To condemn and discourage any form of forced examination of clients, even in the guise of discovering crimes.”

The KMA press release advises medical practitioners to:

“ALWAYS adhere to the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct in their actions with all clients under all circumstances, including those under police custody.”

Rights organisation NGLHRC, which is representing the two men, maintains that their lives, relationships and livelihoods have been negatively impacted by this traumatic experience.

The two men were charged with ‘carnal knowledge against the order of nature and indecent acts between adults’, an old British colonial law still enforced in Kenya today, though the outcome of this trial has not been determined.

The two men, with NGLHRC’s support, petitioned the court to question the constitutionality of subjecting two Kenyan citizens to such inhuman treatment. Breaching freedoms guaranteed to all Kenyan citizens in order to acquire evidence would render such ‘evidence’ unlawful.

Attorney Njeri Gateru (Photo courtesy of YouTube)
Njeri Gateru, head of legal affairs for the NGLHRC Kenyan LGBTI rights advocacy group. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

Head of Legal Affairs at NGLHRC, Njeri Gateru, said:

“We all deserve to be treated with dignity and afforded our basic rights, as enshrined in the Kenyan Constitution. The humiliation and pain caused by these useless anal examinations will follow our clients for the rest of their lives. Anyone who values their freedom,and supports our National Values of human dignity, democracy, equality, social justice and freedom from discrimination, should be concerned by this state-sanctioned abuse.

“We hope the Appeal Court will put Kenyan citizens’ rights first.”

The Kenyan Constitution — the supreme law of the nation — protects all citizens’ basic rights to dignity, privacy and a fair trial. NGLHRC maintains that forced anal examinations amount to ‘cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment’ under Article 25 of the Constitution.

However, an initial ruling at the Mombasa High Court in June 2016 found that the anal examinations to ‘’determine sexual orientation’’ were in line with the law.

The hearing date against the discriminatory judgement has been scheduled for the 11 October 2017.

The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission was founded by a group of Kenyan lawyers working to protect LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) people from discrimination, oppression and violence.

Related articles:

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor / publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

One Comment

Leave a Reply
  1. I am appalled that any country would be doing this kind of thing to any private individual whatsoever. This is like the witch hunts that the USA had in the middle ages. They should be concern with the poverty of that country and be inclusive to anyone with a good heart that is wiling to be a good citizen that will contribute to its progress. The morality of religion is a killing machine that is not sanctioned by God, I don’t care what any Holy books says, period.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CWSDC working session (Photo courtesy of CWSDC)

Dozens of Caribbean activists gather for LBTQI empowerment

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov (Photo courtesy of ABC News)

Chechnya’s long arm of retaliation against gay men