Kenya: 60 people reportedly arrested in gay bar raid

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

60 people have been arrested during a raid on a gay bar in Kenya, according to a report.

According to Kenyan news website Ghafla, Club Envy in the nation’s capital was raided and its patrons arrested, because it was suspected that homosexuals frequented the club.

A watchman told the website that the raid was not due to licensing law, but due to the suspected gay clientele.

The report claims they were “innocent homosexuals who were not even taking part in any buggery but rather enjoying their hard earned money.”

Homosexuality is criminalised in Kenya, and men convicted can be sentenced to up to 14 years’ imprisonment.

Gay activist Joji Baro said: “The arrests at Envy had nothing to do with Mututho law but just trying to suppress the visibility of gays and lesbians. So finally someone just realized gays and lesbians have money and they know where to spend it… Just a remainder of the little rights we enjoy – we have a right to spend our money where and whenever we want to.”

The Kenya Human Rights Commission found in 2011: “LGBTI persons are routinely harassed by the police, held in remand houses beyond the constitutional period without charges being preferred against them, and presented in court on trumped-up charges.

“Closely related to this, is a cartel of corrupt police officials who routinely extort and blackmail LGBTI persons with the threat of arrest and imprisonment if they do not give those bribes.”

Kenyan government spokesperson Aden Duale said earlier this year that homosexuality was as serious as terrorism.

He said: “We need to go on and address this issue the way we want to address terrorism.

“It’s as serious as terrorism. It’s as serious as any other social evil.”