Main | Tuesday, September 04, 2012

KENYA: Police Extort Gay Men

According to a report issued by Identity Kenya, police there are using social media and hook-up sites to lure gay men from whom they then demand money. Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya and punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
Anthony Oluoch, the former Legal and Human Rights Officer based at the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) told Identity Kenya that police blackmail and extortion is main crime report to the organisation by married men, accounting for over 30% of the cases. Oluoch said that most blackmailers are straight masquerading as gays or gay men. Police officers routinely use socially networking and dating sites, such as Gay Kenya, GayRomeo, Gaydar and ManJam where men use to arrange for dates.

Last month a Catholic priest was blackmailed via this method. After arranging to meet a man on a dating site, police burst into his hotel room and handcuffed both men, and to the priest to a police station. The priest, nicknamed as Jackob was asked KShs 850,000 (€8,014 $10,000) after giving the officers KShs 10,000 he was released. The man the priest arranged a date was apparently not arrested and disappeared, which led Jacob to suspect he was involved in the set up.
Victims say they have nowhere to turn. "Where can this be reported to when the officers from the police itself are engaging in such crimes?"

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