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Kenya postpones making decision on decriminalizing homosexuality

Kenya postpones making decision on decriminalizing homosexuality

Lawyer Charles Kanjama of the Kenya Christian Professional Forum takes part in today's court hearing

LGBTI groups are ‘disappointed’ Kenya’s High Court has postponed its ruling on decriminalizing homosexuality.

The Court was due to hand down its decision today, instead putting of the ruling until 24 May at 10.30am.

‘To say we are disappointed would be an understatement,’ said the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) on Twitter.

The Human Dignity Trust’s Director, Téa Braun, said despite the disappointment the community should still have faith in the justice system.

‘This is tremendously disappointing, particularly for the committed and tenacious activists and lawyers in Kenya who have been working towards this moment for several years,’ Braun said.

‘Nonetheless, we must put our trust in the Kenyan justice system. This is a pivotal case, and ultimately the most important thing is a sound and reasoned judgment that will free LGBT Kenyans from discrimination and persecution.’

One of the judges announced the court would not hand down its ruling, blaming ‘administrative challenges’ and ‘full dockets’.

‘We are still planning when to regroup,’ the judge said. ‘The judges have asked me to ask you to give us up to May.’

Journalist Halima Gikandi reported live from the Milimani court. She said the courtroom activists, lawyers and media packed the courtroom to eagerly awaiting the decision.

‘We are still planning when to regroup,’ the judge said. ‘The judges have asked me to ask you to give us up to May.’

Activists in the courtroom expressed their disappointment.

‘What did we expect?” “This is not their priority.’ an activist told Gikandi at court.

#Repeal162

Gay sex is currently punishable by up to 14 years jail in Kenya. The court is reviewing whether to repeal sections 162 and 165 penal code which

Section 162 of the Penal Code criminalizes ‘sexual acts against the order of nature.’ Those found guilty face up to 14 years in prison.

Furthermore, Section 165 refers to sexual activity between men as ‘gross indecency’ and can lead to five years imprisonment. The laws can apply to any sex that is not penis-vagina penetration.

The NGLHRC launched the legal challenge in 2018 to repeal section 162 and 165, arguing the laws violate their constitutional rights to privacy and dignity.

Under the 2010 Kenyan Constitution, the NGLHRC argued ‘all citizens in Kenya [are protected] regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.’

Political affairs podcaster, Brenda Wambui, took to Twitter to criticize the postponement.

‘These are the ways in which homophobia moves. Queer people have been waiting for this ruling for 3 years,’ Wambui wrote.

‘The judges, knowing they would delay the judgment, don’t even have the courtesy or basic decency to say this in advance. Because queer lives are a joke’

See also:

UN moves LGBTI refugees to safe houses in Nairobi after Kenyan camp attacks

Kenya High Court to rule on decriminalizing gay sex in February

Banned lesbian film becomes second-highest grossing Kenyan film of all time