Two Kenyan men allege they were subjected to forced anal examinations at the Mombasa Coast Provincial General Hospital in February 2015 after police took them into custody for alleged homosexual conduct.
The men have filed a constitutional petition against the magistrate who ordered the exams, as well as the hospital, the police, the director of public prosecution, and the health ministry.
"This is the first time that we have documented the use of anal examinations in Kenya,” said Neela Ghoshal, the Human Rights Watch senior researcher for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. “And it is quite disturbing, I have to say, because Kenya has a reputation of having a quite liberal cosmopolitan medical community, doctors who are very well educated, who understand what kinds of procedures are scientific and what kind of procedures are not."
The Independent Forensic Expert Group says these procedures are not scientific.
It says forcibly conducted anal examinations are "medically and scientifically worthless" and the practice "constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and possibly torture."
These examinations prove and accomplish nothing except to humiliate those who are subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch. The group argues that Kenya's Sexual Offenses Act, as well as international law, dictate the exams constitute sexual assault and possibly rape if they involve any form of unwanted penetration.
Requests for a response went unanswered from Kenya's Ministries of Health and Gender, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, Mombasa's Coast Provincial General Hospital, the police and the judiciary.
Human Rights Watch says it has documented forced anal examinations since 2010 in Cameroon, Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda and Zambia.
The Mombasa high court is scheduled to hear the constitutional petition Wednesday.