Czechs deny using penis tests for gay asylum seekers
The Czech Republic is no longer using penis blood pressure tests to determine if asylum seekers are gay, the Czech Interior Ministry said Wednesday.
The EU’s leading human rights agency first criticized the Czech government last year for using “phallometric tests.”
The test gauges the subject’s level of sexual arousal while viewing pornographic or other images by measuring the volume or circumference of the penis.
Tuesday was International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and the European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström took the opportunity to again speak out about the practice.
The procedure is “a pure medieval method and a huge violation of the individual’s rights to privacy,” she said. “There is no question that this is politically unacceptable.”
Interior Ministry spokesman Vladimír Repka told Czech Position that there must have been a misunderstanding because the tests had not been used in the Czech Republic since 2009.
“They were previously used to supplement other sexual diagnostic tests, and in the future we count on just using these,” he said.
The EU had hoped that the Czech government would have made that clear last year.
“We had expected to receive assurances from the Czech side that these methods were not used in practice and would not be used in the future,” Malmström spokesman Marcin Grabiec said. “We did not get that information in the previous reply.”
A December statement by the Interior Ministry said that the “phallometric tests” — which had only been used about 10 times — helped asylum claimants get permission to stay in the country by proving they were gay.
Asylum is often sought from Islamic countries like Iran, Sudan and Nigeria where homosexuality is punishable by death.