KENYA: Court defers ruling on existing same-sex ban to May 24

Kenya’s High Court has postponed until May 24 a ruling on whether to strike out or uphold a colonial-era law banning gay sex, a judge said on Friday.

Judge Chacha Mwita told a packed court in the capital, Nairobi, that the bench constituted to hear the case needed more time to prepare for the ruling, which had been due on Friday.

“The judges on the bench also sit in other courts … we need more time,” Mwita said.

Same-sex relationships are illegal in more than 70 countries, almost half of them in Africa, where homosexuality is broadly taboo and persecution is rife.

In Kenya, where same-sex relationships can lead to a 14-year jail sentence, campaigners for lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender (LGBT) rights have become increasingly vocal in recent years.

Kenya arrested 534 people for same-sex relationships between 2013 and 2017, the government said. Kenya’s high court began hearings on the law last year.

Campaigners say the colonial-era law violates Kenya’s progressive 2010 constitution, which guarantees equality, dignity and privacy for all citizens. They also submitted arguments based on India’s rejection of a similar law in August.


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