A court of appeals in Kenya yesterday ruled that forced anal examinations for gay men are contrary to the law.

Forced anal examinations have largely been used to ‘prove’ whether or not a man is gay in countries where homosexuality is criminalised.

The practice has been decried by organisations worldwide as dehumanising and amounting to torture, as well as being discredited by the scientific community as holding no value as proof.

The case came to the courts after two suspected gay men were arrested in 2015 and forced to undergo both anal examinations and HIV tests, in order to determine if they had engaged in consensual sex.

The men were represented by the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in Kenya, an organisation that provides pro bono legal services to many in the community.

“We are thankful that the Appeal Court has put Kenyan citizens’ rights first,” said head of legal affairs Njeri Gateru.

“With this ruling, the judges are saying that we all deserve to be treated with dignity and afforded our basic rights, as enshrined in the Kenyan Constitution.”

Gay sex has long been criminalised under Kenyan law, with a penalty of up to 14 years in prison.

The country’s High Court is currently considering a case that could decriminalise homosexuality.

Despite the progress in Kenya, other countries including Egypt and Tanzania reportedly continue to implement forced anal examinations for suspected gay men.

“Forced anal examinations amount to torture, and no one should ever be exposed to such a degrading and dehumanising experience,” said Jessica Stern, executive director of OutRight Action International.

“The Kenyan courts ruled in favour of international law and in favour of human dignity. Other countries should follow suit and put an end to this discredited practice.”

Kenya made international LGBTI news on a lighter note last year when an official blamed tourists for gay lions.

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