Kenya: Historic bid to strike down gay ban in court

On 22 and 23 February, rights group the Kenyan National Gay and Lesbian Rights Commission (NGLHRC) will argue that sections of the Kenyan Penal Code are in breach of the constitution and deny basic rights to Kenyan citizens.

The case, filed in 2016, seeks to strike down sections of the penal code that criminalise consensual same-sex relations between adults. Eric Gitari, Executive Director of NGLHRC — and the main petitioner — says the laws fuel violence and discrimination against the LGBT community in Kenya.

The NGLHRC has recorded over 1,000 incidents of violations against LGBT people since 2014, including murder, mob violence, rape, blackmail and extortion.

“We receive cases of women who have been brutally beaten and raped because their family or neighbors found out they were lesbian. Or incidents where individuals go to the police seeking help only to have the police attack them,” says Gitari. “In one such case where our client tried to report a robbery, he was pushed into a cell by police officers, forcibly undressed, beaten, choked and had his hair shaved and burnt off because he ‘was dressed very gay’. These are not the national values Kenyans aspire to.”

Gitaria argues that the discriminatory laws stand in stark contrast to the ideals of the 2010 Constitution of Kenya which guarantees the freedom and dignity of all citizens. Read more via Mamba Online

Kenya's top court considers case to legalize homosexuality

Nairobi, Kenya (CNN) - Kenya's High Court began hearing a case that may decriminalize homosexuality. It's a significant step in East Africa, where homosexuality is illegal in almost every country in the region and in 38 countries in total across the continent, according to Amnesty International.

"The fact that we are being heard is an indicator that our democracy has come of age," said Eric Gitari, a Harvard-educated lawyer and founder of the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, one of the organizations which brought forward the case in 2016.

    The case opened Friday in a crowded Nairobi courtroom. The judges had to change to a different room to accommodate the large crowd.

    "The judges know the entire world is watching," Gitari said. Read more via CNN