Ahmed Zarrouk, secretary general of the Tunisian government, has called for the Tunisian LGBT rights group Shams to be disbanded, even though it just recently won official recognition.
Shams, which was officially registered on May 18, one day after the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, advocates the repeal of Section 230 of the Tunisian penal code, which outlaws homosexual intimacy.
Zarrouk’s main argument in favor of revoking Shams’ registration is that its constitution, which it presented as part of its request for official recognition, made no reference to homosexuality.
“We were surprised when we saw its director talk about this on TV,” Zarrouk said.
He also said that official publication of Shams’ registration had not occurred.
According to Abdellatif Mekki, a member of parliament from the Islamist Ennahda party, the registration of Shams endangers “social peace” and could encourage terrorism.
Ahmad Ben Amor, vice president of Shams, told HuffPost of Tunisia that he was surprised by Zarrouk’s statement. Shams did everything required to obtain legal registration and had not been refused at any point, he said.
As required by law, the leaders of Shams paid for publication of a notice of the registration in the official journal, he said.
“Although that publication never occurred, that was because of negligence on the part of the state,” he said.
Shams called for a demonstration outside the Tunisian parliament on Dec. 10 to protest the statements of Abdellatif Mekki and Ahmed Zarrouk.
Dec. 10 is both International Human Rights Day and the date for a scheduled court hearing in the appeal of Marwen, a Tunisian student who is out on bail while he appeals a one-year prison sentence for homosexual activity.
- Tunisian justice minister seeks repeal of gay sex ban (Sept. 29, 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Tunisia: Protests against anal exam, sodomy sentence (Sept. 28, 2015, 76crimes.com)
- IDAHOT anti-hate campaign: Even in 20 anti-gay nations (May 16, 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Assaults in Tunisia: ‘daily violence remains unpunished’ (March 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Over Swedish protest, Tunisia imposes 2-year sentence (February 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Tunisia politician guilty of gay sex; prison term nears end (June 2013, 76crimes.com)