Kenya police arrest suspected blackmailer of gays

Nairobi police continue to urge gay people to come forward to aid investigations of a group known for extorting, and sometimes raping, gay men and women

Kenya police arrest suspected blackmailer of gays
07 February 2013

Kenyan police have arrested a suspected member of a gay blackmail ring where people were extorted, humiliated and even raped for cash.

Last weekend, the suspected blackmailer was arrested when he tried to get away but was trapped in a police sting.

According to activists, four gay male victims came forward to the police to report they had fell victim to the extortionist.

After meeting the blackmailers for an online date, one victim recalled when he realized it was a trick.

‘They took my laptop, phones and school fees,’ one victim told Identity Kenya.

‘They then took photos of me naked and threatened to send them to my family and school if I did not give them the money they wanted.’

Other victims have claimed if they refused to be photographed to a point where they could be blackmailed, they were raped.

It was alleged some were terrified of going to the police because one of the blackmailers posed as an officer.

However Kenyan police said the identification they used did not match to any of the records they have.

The Gay and Lesbian Coalition for Kenya (GALCK) say these incidents of blackmail are growing, stating extortion is one of the biggest crimes facing gay Kenyans today.

In a statement, GALCK’s legal officer Anthony Olouch said: ‘Blackmail and extortion is illegal in Kenya and LGBTI people should not hesitate to report such cases.

‘A blackmail case shall be treated as such regardless of the circumstances that landed you in the hand of the blackmailers.’

While same-sex relations are illegal in Kenya, punished by up to 14 years imprisonment, arrests and convictions are reportedly rare.

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