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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 6:00 pm 
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Tunisia jails six students for 'homosexuality': lawyer
14 December 2015

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Members of rights group Shams are calling for decriminalisation of homosexuality in Tunisia (AFP Photo/Fethi Belaid)

Tunis (AFP) - A court in Tunisia has sentenced six students to three years in jail each on charges of homosexuality in a judgment condemned by rights activists, their lawyer said on Monday.

The court in Kairouan last week handed down the maximum term under a controversial article of the criminal code that criminalises sex between males, Boutheina Karkni said. The six were also banned from the central city for five years after they complete their sentences, she said. The young men were detained in November and December after "neighbours denounced them" and were made to undergo anal examinations, she said.

Karkni described the ruling as "extremely harsh" and said an appeal hearing should take place "in two to three weeks" in the nearby coastal city of Sousse. One defendant was handed an extra six months behind bars for "offensive" videos found on his computer, the huffpostmaghreb.com news site reported.

Rights group Amnesty International in a statement denounced the ruling as "a shocking example of deep-rooted state sanctioned discrimination". It said anal examinations "amount to torture when carried out involuntarily", and called for the immediate and unconditional release of the six. Local rights group Shams, which calls for decriminalising homosexuality in Tunisia by revising Article 230 of the penal code, condemned the judgment. Human Rights Watch's country director also denounced the ruling as "a grave case of infringement on people's private lives and physical integrity".

Amna Guellali described the sentences, which included the "extremely rare" penalty of "banishment", as "mediaeval and not consistent with Tunisia's evolution". Balkis Mechri of the local Human Rights League agreed. "The banishment really is scandalous," she said, calling on civil society to "react strongly" in the case.

But interior ministry spokesman Walid Louguini defended the ruling. "Our job is to uphold the law," radio station Shems FM reported him as saying. In September, a court sentenced a student to a year behind bars in Sousse on charges of homosexuality, also after he was examined anally. He was released in November pending an appeal hearing expected on Thursday. After the September judgment, then justice minister Salah Ben Aissa made a controversial call for Article 230 to be scrapped and was sacked in October.

Source: Yahoo! AFP.

Tunisia convicts 6 students of 'homosexuality' in Kairouan
14 December 2015

TUNIS (ANSAmed) - Six university students between the ages of 18 and 19 were sentenced on December 10 in Kairouan, 60 km east of the seaside resorts Sousse and Monastir, to three years in prison for ''homosexual acts''.

One of them received an extra six months for possession of a homosexual video on his computer, reported the Shams association, which works for LGBT rights in Tunisia and the depenalization of homosexuality in the country. Shams reported that the Kairouan court added an extra 5-year ban from the city.

The sentencing of the five youths has reignited debate as to whether Article 230 of the criminal code should be abolished, which sets a three-year maximum sentence for both ''the male homosexual act (liwat) and the female one (mousahaqa)'', since it is said to go against the principles of the 2014 Tunisian constitution.

Source: ANSAmed

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 6:17 pm 
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Tunisian youth convicted for 'homosexuality' freed
18 December 2015

TUNIS - A young Tunisian man who was sentenced to one year in prison by a court of first instance for homosexuality was released after an appeals court reduced the length of the jail term to two months, said the attorney of the defendant, Fadoua Braham.

The lawyer said his client would appeal the ''unjust and unacceptable'' ruling to the Supreme Court. The young man does not need to serve time as he has already been detained for over 60 days after his arrest in September.

His case had raised the protests of associations defending the rights of minorities, civil society and foreign media, especially regarding the procedure used by judicial authority to establish the man's alleged homosexuality - a rectal examination at a hospital. The young man had been summoned to the police station of Hammam-Sousse as a witness in a murder investigation and had ended up confessing his homosexuality after six days.

Meanwhile a controversy is ongoing in Tunisia over another conviction on ''homosexuality'' charges after a court in Kairouan sentenced six young men to three years in prison. The appeals trial is scheduled to start next week. The case has reopened a debate in the country over the abolition of homosexuality as a criminal offense - in article 230 in the criminal code which provides for jail terms of up to three years for a ''homosexual act'' - an article critics accuse of going against the principles of the Tunisian Constitution approved in 2014.

Source: ANSAmed

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 6:26 pm 
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Tunisian LGBT rights group Shams given 30-day suspension
5 January 2016

TUNIS (ANSAmed) - The Shams association, which works for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Tunisia and seeks the decriminalization of homosexual activities, has been ordered to suspend its activities for 30 days.

The group made the announcement on its Facebook page. The vice president of the association, Hedi Sahly - who sought refuge in Paris after receiving death threats for her work in the group - told local media that the suspension was for non-compliance with rule-of-law principles and that the association had been fined on the basis of Article 45 of the law on associations. The official recognition of Shams, the first pro-LGBT association in the country, on May 18 last year had sparked heated debate in Tunisia. Some saw it as progress in the field of the rights of minorities, while the mufti called on the authorities to revoke their decision, since it was ''a threat to future generations through the promotion of deviant and perverse behaviors''.

Criticism generally came from the most conservative part of society, such as imams who said it was setting a ''dangerous precedent against Islamic teachings''. Shams has made a name for itself in recent months for its defense of citizens sentenced for ''homosexuality'' and has struggled to get Article 230 of the criminal code abolished, on the basis of which it is considered a crime.

Source: ANSAmed

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 6:38 pm 
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Tunisian LGBT group's suspension revoked
23 February 2016

TUNIS (ANSAmed) - The Shams association for the decriminalization of homosexuality in Tunisia said Tuesday on its official Facebook page that it had won its legal battle against the government, which had suspended its activities for 30 days from early January.

''Shams can resume its activities after the judge's decision,'' it said, noting that it had appealed the suspension. The official recognition on May 18, 2015 of Shams, the first association in the country for the defense of LGBT rights, had sparked heated debate in Tunisia.

While some saw it as progress in the issue of sexual minorities' rights, others such as the Mufti of the Republic called on the authorities to revise their decision, saying that the recognition of Shams was ''a threat to future generations through fostering aberrant and perverse behaviors''. Criticism came especially from the most conservative parts of society, such as imams that claimed that the authorization for Shams set a ''dangerous precedent for Tunisia that will harm Islamic teachings''. Shams has gained a reputation for standing up for citizens sentenced to jail by Tunisian courts for homosexuality, and works to get Article 230 of the Criminal Code (which considers it a crime) abolished.

Source: ANSAmed

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 7:13 pm 
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dragon wrote:
victor wrote:
Tunisia jails six students for 'homosexuality': lawyer
14 December 2015

image
Members of rights group Shams are calling for decriminalisation of homosexuality in Tunisia (AFP Photo/Fethi Belaid)

Tunis (AFP) - A court in Tunisia has sentenced six students to three years in jail each on charges of homosexuality in a judgment condemned by rights activists, their lawyer said on Monday.

The court in Kairouan last week handed down the maximum term under a controversial article of the criminal code that criminalises sex between males, Boutheina Karkni said. The six were also banned from the central city for five years after they complete their sentences, she said. The young men were detained in November and December after "neighbours denounced them" and were made to undergo anal examinations, she said.

Karkni described the ruling as "extremely harsh" and said an appeal hearing should take place "in two to three weeks" in the nearby coastal city of Sousse. One defendant was handed an extra six months behind bars for "offensive" videos found on his computer, the huffpostmaghreb.com news site reported.

Rights group Amnesty International in a statement denounced the ruling as "a shocking example of deep-rooted state sanctioned discrimination". It said anal examinations "amount to torture when carried out involuntarily", and called for the immediate and unconditional release of the six. Local rights group Shams, which calls for decriminalising homosexuality in Tunisia by revising Article 230 of the penal code, condemned the judgment. Human Rights Watch's country director also denounced the ruling as "a grave case of infringement on people's private lives and physical integrity".

Amna Guellali described the sentences, which included the "extremely rare" penalty of "banishment", as "mediaeval and not consistent with Tunisia's evolution". Balkis Mechri of the local Human Rights League agreed. "The banishment really is scandalous," she said, calling on civil society to "react strongly" in the case.

But interior ministry spokesman Walid Louguini defended the ruling. "Our job is to uphold the law," radio station Shems FM reported him as saying. In September, a court sentenced a student to a year behind bars in Sousse on charges of homosexuality, also after he was examined anally. He was released in November pending an appeal hearing expected on Thursday. After the September judgment, then justice minister Salah Ben Aissa made a controversial call for Article 230 to be scrapped and was sacked in October.

Source: Yahoo! AFP.

Tunisia convicts 6 students of 'homosexuality' in Kairouan
14 December 2015

TUNIS (ANSAmed) - Six university students between the ages of 18 and 19 were sentenced on December 10 in Kairouan, 60 km east of the seaside resorts Sousse and Monastir, to three years in prison for ''homosexual acts''.

One of them received an extra six months for possession of a homosexual video on his computer, reported the Shams association, which works for LGBT rights in Tunisia and the depenalization of homosexuality in the country. Shams reported that the Kairouan court added an extra 5-year ban from the city.

The sentencing of the five youths has reignited debate as to whether Article 230 of the criminal code should be abolished, which sets a three-year maximum sentence for both ''the male homosexual act (liwat) and the female one (mousahaqa)'', since it is said to go against the principles of the 2014 Tunisian constitution.

Source: ANSAmed

Jail terms cut for Tunisian students convicted of homosexuality
4 March 2016

TUNIS (ANSA) - The Sousse Court of Appeal has reduced to one month in prison and a fine of 400 dinars the sentences handed down to six university students convicted last December and sentenced to three years in prison on charges of homosexuality by the Kairouan Tribunal, the Shams association for the depenalisation of homsexuality in Tunisia said Friday.

The appeal Court also annulled another part of the original sentence handed down to the students banishing them from the city of Kairouan for five years and it cancelled their convictions for a separate charge of offending public decency.

Shams noted that the six young men remain at liberty but still remain convicted of the criminal offense of homosexuality in Tunisia. The association expressed its disappointment over the "lack of courage of the Court, considering this judgment as an offense to the rights of man and human dignity". Defense lawyers for the youngsters plan to appeal to Tunisia's Supreme Court. "They have not done anything, they are innocent, so why condemn them to a month? What hypocrisy," said lawyer Fadoua Braham after the sentence.

Source: ANSAmed

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 7:20 pm 
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Debate on abolition of anti-homosexuality law in Tunisia re-kindled
by Paolo Paluzzi
4 March 2016

TUNIS (ANSAmed) - The debate in Tunisia on abolishing the crime of homosexuality, punishable with up to three years in prison under article 230 of the penal code, has been rekindled.

The law, which punishes only the act and not homosexuality in general, says "the male homosexual act (liwat) and female (mousahaqa) is punished with prison up to three years". For the LGBT associations, fighting for a long time for decriminalisation, especially after the revolution of 2011, this norm also is in contrast with the new Tunisian Constitution introduced in 2014.

Re-opening the question was the sentence of the Sousse Court of appeal, which drastically reduced the terms for six university students convincted last December to three years in prison for homosexuality by the Kairouan Triubunal. Now the three youngsters, who remain free, only have one month of prison and 400 dinar fines, but the sentence does not satisfy either the Shams association for the depenalisation of homosexuality in Tunisia, nor the young men's defense lawyers. If on the one hand in fact there are sighs of relief for the boys remaining free and for the Court having cancelled their exile from Kairoaun and a conviction for offending public decency, there remains disappointment over the recognition by the judges of the remaining criminal offense.

The sentence in fact can be read in a political way, as if the judges wanted a compromise between the criminal offense and the rights of modernity in one of the most secular societies in the Islamic world, choosing not to damage the boys, but also not to deny clearly the Kairouan police and the lower court judges.

The case also re-kindled controversy over the way in which the proof of "guilt" was obtained - by anal test - when instead according to the law they should have been caught in flagrante. The defense lawyers said they would appeal to the Supreme Court.

It is a judgement that underlines the contradictions of Tunisian society, symbolised by the story of the Shams association: recognised in May 2015, it was in fact suspended at the start of 2016 and then authorised anew only a few days ago by the magistrature. So there is no shortage of obstacles in Tunisian society to abolition of the crime, even if a kind of consciousness is maturing for a different interpretation of the theme of homosexuality. A video spot in which some actresses and bloggers speak against article 230, posted on the Facebook page of the Shams recently, is enjoying unprecedented success with thousands of hits constantly increasing.

Source: ANSAmed

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