Target: Farhat Horchani, Tunisian Minister of Justice
Goal: Release six men sentenced to three years in prison for allegedly being gay.
Six men have been arrested under Tunisia’s anti-gay laws and sentenced to three years in prison. The laws under which they were convicted violate human rights and promote an unsafe atmosphere for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people. Sign the petition calling for their immediate release and encourage Tunisia to revise its outdated and inhumane laws.
The men were reportedly arrested, subjected to anal examinations to “prove” the allegations against them, and sentenced one week later to the maximum sentence under Tunisian law for “sodomy and lesbianism.” One man received an additional six months in jail for “indecency” after police discovered a pornographic video on his computer. All of the men are banned from Kairouan, the city in which they were arrested, for five years following their release from prison. Five of the six men did not have lawyers at the time of their sentencing.
Laws that punish homosexuality create an atmosphere that tacitly approves of violence toward LGBTI people. Furthermore, anal examinations without the consent of those affected amount to torture. Although those detained by the police have the right to refuse the tests, victims report that they are often intimated into agreeing or told that refusals will count against them in court.
According to one of the men’s lawyers, the three-year sentences are extremely harsh; the court has rarely come down so hard on homosexuality in recent years. This means there may be hope to overturn the sentences and make a change for the better. Sign the petition and demand the immediate release of six men.
Tunisia’s laws against “sodomy and lesbianism” violate a number of human rights and are incredibly outdated and inhumane. I therefore urge you to abandon these old laws in favor of progress and inclusivity, and I suggest that you start by overturning the sentences of six men recently convicted of sodomy.
The men were arrested at a party in Kairouan and subjected to anal examinations to “prove” that they were homosexual. These tests have been discredited in the medical community and are often forced on prisoners without their consent, an act that amounts to torture. Furthermore, only one of the six men arrested had a lawyer present at the sentencing.
Each of the men was given the maximum sentence of three years and banned from Kairouan for five years following their release from prison. One man was given an additional six months for “indecency” after the police found a pornographic video on his computer.
The criminalization of private, non-exploitative acts between consenting adults is horribly shameful and archaic, promoting an atmosphere in which gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people are fair game for violence, discrimination, and scorn. I urge you to overturn the men’s sentences and to do away with the laws under which they were convicted.
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Photo credit: AlexVan