Kenya court postpones ruling on anti-gay laws, says judges busy

Friday February 22 2019

gavel

Kenya's High Court on February 22, 2019 postponed the much-anticipated judgment on decriminalising gay sex to May 24. PHOTO | FILE 

SAM KIPLAGAT
By SAM KIPLAGAT
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Kenya's High Court on Friday postponed the much-anticipated judgment on decriminalising gay sex.

Judge Chacha Mwita said the ruling was not ready as some judges had been busy.

"We plan to meet in April if all goes well and see whether we can come up with a decision. You do not appreciate what the judges are going through," said Judge Mwita.

He set the decision for May 24.

Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya, a section of the penal code stating that anyone who has "carnal knowledge... against the order of nature" can be imprisoned for 14 years.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has previously said that gay rights was not a burning issue for the country adding that same-sex relations are not an issue of human rights, but rather of "our own base as a culture”.

The petition was initially filed in 2016, and activists had been eagerly awaiting the decision, which could reverberate around Africa where several nations are grappling with similar laws.

On social media Kenya's LGBT community and allies have been anxiously counting down the hours to the ruling.

"To say we are disappointed would be an understatement," the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Council (NGLHRC), one of the petitioners, wrote on Twitter.

—Additional reporting by AFP

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