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Kenyan Court Upholds Forced Anal Testing in Homosexuality Cases

Kenyan gays and lesbians and others supporting their cause wear masks to preserve their anonymity and one holds out a wrapped condom, as they stage a rare protest, against Uganda's increasingly tough stance against homosexuality and in solidarity with their counterparts there, outside the Uganda High Commission in Nairobi.

A Kenyan court upheld the use of anal testing to “prove homosexuality” Thursday.

Justice Matthew Emukule of Mombasa’s high court ruled that anal testing is a “reasonable and legitimate” means to prove what he called “unnatural sex.”

His ruling was in response to a constitutional challenge brought in November of last year by the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

“This is heart-wrenching in so many ways," said Eric Gitari, the commission’s director. He filed the petition.

"It sets a very dangerous precedent which jeopardizes the security of so many LGBTI persons, especially gay men," he warned. "It makes them now very vulnerable to blackmail and extortion with the threat that they can actually be subjected to anal testing and that result of anal testing be used in court to jail them for 14 years. So it’s a life-changing judgment that has been delivered today.”

Homosexual acts are illegal in Kenya and those found guilty can get up to 14 years in jail.

The commission was suing on behalf of two gay men who were forced to undergo HIV testing and anal examinations while in police custody in Mombasa last February.

International human rights groups and forensic experts say not only to these forced procedures prove nothing, they are also degrading.

The petition named the magistrate who ordered the exams, the hospital, the police, the director of public prosecution, and the health ministry.

A memorandum of appeal was filed immediately after Thursday’s ruling by the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission on behalf of the two petitioners.

They now wait for the Court of Appeal to assign a date for a hearing.