Tunisia targets pro-gay advocacy at Shams

The Tunisian government has appealed a 2016 court decision that granted official recognition to the group Shams, which advocates the repeal of the nation’s anti-gay law.


From the African Human Rights Media Network


Logo of Shams for the Decriminalization of Homosexuality in Tunisia. (In Arabic, the word "Shams" means "Sun.")

Logo of Shams for the Decriminalization of Homosexuality in Tunisia. (In Arabic, the word “Shams” means “Sun.”)

“The activities of this association are contrary to the principles of a Muslim society,” Tunisian officials complained.

The news website Kapitalis.com reported that the government’s appeal was filed on Jan. 8, but Shams received notification of it only yesterday.

The appeal argues that Shams “must not continue its activities, which go against the traditions of Tunisians who are Muslim. Islam prohibits these practices, which are also prohibited by Tunisian law under Article 230 of the Penal Code.”

In 2016, the government unsuccessfully argued that Shams should be shut down, claiming that, by advocating on behalf of the LGBT community, it had deviated from its stated mission of defending sexual minorities.

A trial is set for March 1.

Shams says that at least 127 people were arrested last year for alleged violations of Article 230 of the Tunisian Penal Code, which provides for up to three years in prison for homosexual activity.

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