Kenyan High court has ruled that sex between cousins, which prior to the ruling has been considered taboo, is not illegal in the country.
This means that immediate cousins may tie the knot in Kenya without fear of being criminalised.
High Court judge James Makau argued that the Sexual Offenses Act did not include cousins among the list of relatives under the offence of incest.
As quoted in a newspaper, Makau said:
“The National Assembly did not leave out the clause on cousins by intension but by the fact that in some cultures in Kenya, like the Hundus and Muslims, allow sexual acts and marriage between cousins. It is not criminalized.”
The ruling was made after a man, whose name is not mentioned, was found engaging in sexual acts with his aunt’s daughter, his blood cousin.
Court records indicated that the man had invited his cousin to his house on April 9, 2014, to which she consented and even cooked a meal for him. After downing the well-cooked meal, chemistry occurred and the two indulged in sex.
Unfortunately for him, they got caught while it was still going down by the girl’s mother who visited unexpectedly.
The woman filed a law suit against her nephew, charging him for sleeping with a minor and engaging in incest.
The man pleaded not guilty to the accusations of illegal sex with a child. He insisted that the girl had not testified against him. He was later sentenced to 10 years in prison essentiailly for how they related.
He appealed the case at the High Court and the jail term was thrown out citing that:
“The magistrate court erred in finding that he was guilty of incest. The prosecution failed to prove that the offence lay nuder prohibited relationships as provided for by law. The court should not have imported the relationship of cousins and included it in illegal relationships.”