Friday, February 19, 2010

Gay Kenyans Warned to Flee for Safety

Earlier this week we blogged about a same-sex wedding in Kenya that was broken up by the police. It appears that five of the men involved in planning the wedding were arrested, but have now been released.

According to The Advocate, police said there was not enough evidence to prosecute them, but police spokesman Martha Mutegi said the men were advised to leave the area for their own safety.

The men were arrested last week, when local officials reported hearing about a wedding due to take place in Mtwapa. Two of the men were found with wedding rings.

In Kenya homosexuality is punishable by up to 14 years in jail.

Human Rights Watch is putting the spotlight on Kenya's antigay actions this week, as it calls on the government to stop allowing violence against gays. Several religious leaders have also come together to form a group called Operation Gays Out, which aims to "flush out gays"

“The government is sitting silent while mobs try to kill human rights defenders and assault people they suspect are gay,” Dipika Nath, Human Rights Watch's researcher on LGBT rights said in a report. “Inaction is complicity, and silence can be lethal."

A massive rally against gays is planned for Saturday, Sheik Ali Hussein declared on the radio. The attacks and the government’s failure to act have spread fear in the country's LGBT population, Human Rights Watch officials said. Several people have gone into hiding; others are preparing to flee their homes at a moment’s notice.

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