May 3, 2016 / 6:19 PM / 3 years ago

Kenyan court to hear case against alleged gay anal examinations

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Two men are seeking a Kenyan court ruling declaring enforced anal examinations unconstitutional after they were subjected to such tests last year to see if they had been involved in gay sex, the men’s lawyer said on Tuesday.

Rights activists have condemned the examinations as inhuman and humiliating. New York-based Human Rights Watch said such coerced examinations might amount to torture under international law.

Kenya, like many African nations, outlaws homosexuality. The law calls for jailing those involved in homosexual acts, but violations are rarely prosecuted.

In court papers filed in September, the two men, whose names have not been made public, alleged they were coerced into undergoing anal examination by security personnel and a public hospital in Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa in February 2015.

Sande Ligunya, the men’s lawyer, told Reuters a court in Mombasa would conduct the case’s first hearing on Wednesday.

Police said they could not comment on the men’s claims since they were a subject of court proceedings.

In the petition, the men say they want the court to declare that forced anal examination “amounts to degrading treatment” and “a violation of the human and constitutional rights”.

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.”

Human Rights Watch senior researcher Neela Ghoshal said the medical procedures “accomplish nothing, other than humiliating and demeaning people who are considered moral ‘outcasts.’”

Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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