Tunisia orders 30-day suspension for pro-LGBT group

Hedi Sahly, vice president of Shams (Photo d'EtatsGenerauxLGBTI.fr)
Hedi Sahly, vice president of Shams (Photo courtesy of EtatsGenerauxLGBTI.fr)

The LGBT rights group Shams was ordered by the Tunisian government today to suspend its activities for 30 days.

Business News reported that:

Hedi Sahli, vice president of Shams, said the reason given for this suspension was non-compliance with the principles of the rule of law. Shams was sanctioned on the basis of Article 45, the law governing  associations.

Shams seeks the repeal of Article 230 of the Tunisian Penal Code, which criminalizes homosexual relations.  It announced the government order on its Facebook page.

In December, Ahmed Zarrouk, the secretary general of the Tunisian government, requested the dissolution of Shams, which had obtained its official registration only recently — on May 18.

On Dec. 12, Shams had called for a demonstration outside parliament seeking recognition of the human rights of LGBT people, but the rally was banned by the government.

The protest was also aimed at countering the statements of Ahmed Zarrouk and of member of parliament Abdellatif Mekki of  the Islamist Ennahda party, who said that official recognition of Shams is dangerous for the “social peace.”

On Sept. 28, the then Minister of Justice, Mohamed Salah Ben Aïssa, called for the repeal of Article 230.

But on Oct. 20, Ben Aïssa was dismissed . A government spokesman criticized Ben Aïssa for “an accumulation of statements that lacked seriousness.”

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

16 Comments

Leave a Reply
  1. Dear friends, do you think you could help focus more on what is going on in Tunisia right now? I find very scary the fact that Shams’s website, shams-tunisie.com, has been taken down. I guess the Tunisian government is most likely behind that new act of violence. It should be rightly denounced. No, it must be publicly denounced. WE have to speak up for the voiceless. If we don’t, who will remember the fate of LGBTQI people in Tunisia in 2016? Please, do something about it. Thank you so much. As a community, WE have to care. Thank you. Bruno, Toulouse, France.

    • Who cares about gay people there is a lot more important events happening in Tunisia than gay rights. Many Tunisians are below the poverty line and struggling to put food on the table so who cares about the rights of gays!

Leave a Reply

Empire’s evils live on, so activist rejects Empire’s honors

64% rise in reported Nigerian human rights violations