30/10/2017 09:40 SAST | Updated 30/10/2017 09:40 SAST

Tanzanian Authorities Wanted Rectal Exams For Gay South African 'Hostages'

It wasn't just an arrest, the South Africans involved say.

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The South African lawyer deported from Tanzania for allegedly "promoting homosexuality" has confirmed to Mamba Online that Tanzanian police attempted to force 12 people arrested in Dar es Salaam on 10 October to have rectal exams.

Sibongile Ndashe, executive director of the Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA), said that the police applied at least twice for a court order "for anal testing [of] all 12 people, including the women".

The police however failed in their attempts because they could not justify their decision to the courts, Ndashe explained.

This comes after Tanzanian police held Ndashe and 12 other healthcare professionals, without any charges, for 10 days in a Tanzanian jail. Nashe described the situation as being "held hostage".

"We were held hostage at a police station, that's what happened to us," said Ndashe. "We were not placed under arrest... it was a hostage-negotiation situation."

The team was arrested by police in a private hotel room while meeting to discuss a way forward in a legal challenge against the Tanzanian government's ban on HIV services for men who have sex with men and other at-risk groups.

The Tanzanian government earlier this year instituted a ban on more than 40 facilities around the country that offered life-saving HIV services to men who have sex with men.

Avert estimates that some there are more than 1.4-million people living with HIV in the country.