Amnesty International is seeking international support for its plea that six Tunisian students be cleared of homosexuality charges. The organization also seeks an investigation into the students’ reports that they were tortured in prison before being released on bail. Amnesty’s plea is in addition to petitions on Avaaz.org and AllOut.org in support of the Tunisian LGBT group Shams and in opposition to the Tunisian anti-LGBTI law, Article 230.
Tunisia: Quash Conviction of Six Men
Six Tunisian men, who have been tortured and otherwise ill-treated since they were convicted of “sodomy,” were released on bail on 7 January. The men have been threatened, and fear that their lives are in danger.
1) Please write immediately in Arabic, French, English or your own language:
- Urging the Tunisian authorities to quash the conviction of the six men convicted of “sodomy”;
- Calling on them to order an immediate, impartial and effective investigation of the men’s allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, and protect them from further reprisals, threats and violence;
- Calling on them to repeal Article 230 of the Penal Code, which criminalizes consensual same-sex sexual relations, and publicly condemn all forms of violence based on gender and real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
URGENT ACTION: Six men free on bail, but in grave danger
[The] six Tunisian men … had been arrested on 2 December at a party in the city of Kairouan and sentenced to three years in prison on 10 December, the maximum provided under Article 230 of the Tunisian Penal Code, which covers “sodomy and lesbianism”. Their appeal is scheduled to be heard on 25 February.
Some of the men have spoken about being beaten at the police station after they were arrested. A lawyer defending them has told Amnesty International that the signs of the beatings the men received were still clear and that one of them had been left with a broken nose.
The men also described how they were forced to undergo an anal examination against their will. Police took them to the hospital, and went with them into the examination room. The men were seen individually by the forensic doctor and, when each of them refused to be examined, were asked to sign a statement of their refusal. However, each of them was beaten by police when he left the room, and forced to go back and undergo the test. Their refusals were torn up, and they were forced to sign an agreement to the test. This amounts to torture when carried out against the will of the detainee.
The lawyer also told Amnesty International that the men have been threatened since they were released, and are too afraid to go outside. The men’s normal lives and their studies have also been disrupted and they are in constant fear of facing new accusations or charges.
Please write immediately in Arabic, French, English or your own language.
- PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 26 FEBRUARY 2016 TO:
Minister of Justice
31, boulevard Bab Bnet
Fax: +216 71 56 18 04
Salutation: Your Excellency
Béji Caïd Essebsi
Fax: +216 71 74 47 21
Salutation: Your Excellency
And copies to:
Speaker of Parliament
President Mohamed Ennaceur
Assembly of the Representatives of the People
Bardo 2000, Tunis
Fax: +216 71 514 608
3) Please let us know if you took action so that we can track our impact!
- EITHER send a short email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “UA 298/15” in the subject line, and include in the body of the email the number of letters and/or emails you sent,
- OR fill out this short online form to let us know how you took action.
Related articles in this blog about the six students:
- After anti-gay trial, tortures in Tunisian prison (Jan. 10, 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Human rights advocates decry 3-year sentences in Tunisia (Dec. 16, 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Three-year jail sentence for six Tunisian youths (Dec. 13, 2015, 76crimes.com)
Other related articles in this blog:
- Here’s why Tunisian LGBT group should not be suspended (Jan. 15, 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Menaced with dissolution, Tunisian LGBT group seeks help (Jan. 11, 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Advocates urge pressure on Tunisia to spare LGBT group (Jan. 8, 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Tunisia orders 30-day suspension for pro-LGBT group (Jan. 4, 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Tunisian court cuts off student’s homosexuality sentence (Dec. 17, 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Tunisia: Death threats against LGBT activists (Dec. 13, 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Tunisian LGBT rights group under attack (Dec. 2, 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Tunisian justice minister seeks repeal of gay sex ban
- Tunisia: Protests against anal exam, sodomy sentence (September 2015, 76crimes.com)