MOMBASA, Kenya (Reuters) - Two men being prosecuted 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 a ruling labeled “totally unacceptable” by Amnesty International.
The two unnamed men who deny the gay sex charges, said in their petition 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 the forced examinations - which are used to try to prove gay sex has 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.
Homosexual acts are illegal in Kenya and many other African countries. Rights groups have regularly condemned both those laws and the examinations.
Amnesty’s regional director Muthoni Wanyeki said the court ruling was unacceptable and “also absurd as the government has no business proving or disproving consensual homosexual activity.”
New York-based Human Rights Watch has said the examinations might amount to torture under international law.
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.”
The two men’s trial for having gay sex is ongoing.
Reporting by Joseph Akwiri; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Edmund Blair