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A Kenyan judge has upheld the use of anal examinations to determine the sexual orientation of an individual, dismissing the argument that the procedure amounts to torture and degrading treatment.

Judge Emukule said: “I find no violation of human dignity, right to privacy and right to freedom of the petitioners.”

Two men had sought a court ruling to stop enforced anal examinations and HIV tests of men accused of being gay after they were subjected to the procedures.

The ruling has raised concerns throughout the area, drawing the attention of Amnesty International Director for East Africa Muthoni Wanyeki, who called “forcible anal examinations of men suspect of same-sex relationships abhorrent,” and in violation of international laws against torture and ill-treatment, as well as to the basic right to privacy. The two men currently face up to 14 years in prison, if convicted.

The rights organisation said forced anal exams violate multiple treaties that Kenya has ratified, including the Convention against Torture, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the African Convention on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

“This ruling is a devastating precedent that has now heightened the risk and fear of similar anal testing on many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer persons in Kenya,” said Eric Gitari, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, a Kenyan advocacy group.

“Suspecting someone of being gay should not be grounds for stripping them of their dignity and their fundamental rights.”

Homosexuality is currently outlawed in 34 African countries and is only explicitly legal in South Africa.

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