QUEER VOICES

Kenyans On Trial For Having Gay Sex Lose Bid To Outlaw Anal Exams

Rights groups have regularly condemned the practice.

MOMBASA, Kenya (Reuters) - Two men being tried for having gay sex in Kenya lost their legal bid on Thursday to challenge the authorities' right to force suspects to have anal examinations.

In their petition, the two unamed men who deny the charges, said they had been coerced into undergoing anal examinations by security personnel and a public hospital in Mombasa in February 2015.

They wanted the court to declare that forced examinations used to try to prove gay sex had taken place amounted to "degrading treatment" and a violation of human rights.

But high court judge Matthew Emukule said on Thursday there was sufficient justification under Kenyan law to allow the intrusion into the human body for the purpose of gathering evidence to prove a sexually related crime. 

"The petition has no merit and is dismissed," he said in his ruling in the Kenyan port of Mombasa.

Rights groups have regularly condemned both the law and the use of anal examinations as a way of trying to prove that gay sex acts have taken place.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has said such treatment might amount to torture under international law.

The two men's trial for having gay sex is ongoing.

On a visit to Kenya in July last year U.S. President Barack Obama equated discrimination against gays to treating people differently because of race, adding: "That's the path whereby freedoms begin to erode."

(Reporting by Joseph Akwiri; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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