Tunisian activist in coma after 2nd suicide attempt

Ahmed Ben Amor, vice-président de l'Association Shams
Ahmed Ben Amor has made a second attempt to kill himself

Ahmed Ben Amor, vice president of the Tunisian LGBT rights association Shams, is in critical condition after making his second suicide attempt in a month, his friends report.

Speaking to Tunisia Live, Shams executive board member and spokesperson Belhedi Bouhdid, said that on July 16, “We were with him at his house following the first attempt. He asked if we could leave him alone for some time. He took advantage of that to swallow all the pills the doctors had given him.”

Tunisia Live reported:

Ben Amor’s second suicide attempt has confused many of his friends, as well as Association members who all understood him to be in recovery following his initial attempt. “The reasons are absurd,” Bouhdid said, “ ‘I only want to die’ — that’s what he said before losing consciousness.”

Ben Amor first attempted suicide last week, by consuming approximately 70 pills, but leaving no note to explain his actions. Ben Amor was released from hospital following treatment. … According to Shams, Ben Amor has been assessed a 3 on the Glasgow Coma Scale, the lowest level of consciousness the system records.

Audibly distressed, Bouhdid explained that Ahmed was in a “very delicate condition,” adding, “The doctors have lost hope…. We are waiting for the end of the day to see what will happen.”

In constant receipt of online abuse and death threats and excluded from mainstream Tunisian society, largely because of his activism, Ben Amor has established a reputation for himself as a fearlessness campaigner and activist for Tunisian gay rights.

With Ben Amor’s prognosis looking increasingly guarded, Boulhdid concluded his comments by saying, “It is really sad. Only a miracle can save him. We are just waiting.”

Ben Amor was transferred to the emergency medical assistance center (Camu) in Tunis, where he was placed in intensive care, the Tunisian news website Realities reported.

On July 9, Ben Amor made his first suicide attempt by ingesting a huge amount of drugs.

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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]


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  1. Dear friends, I am writing to tell you that I am extremely worried about what is going on in Tunisia. Tunisian law-makers, members of government, and policy-makers should let know that we are waching and we are feeling very concerned about what is going on. About what they are doing to their country’s young people by allowing widespread homophobia in their communities. Ahmed Ben Amor is truly an amazing young man, and i consider him to be a hero for our times! What an amazing fearless young man! Tunisia should wake up and realize how they treat their own youth!
    Not including LGBT people, and letting them discriminated against is holding countries back! It is truly holding them back in the Dark Ages of reason and thought. It IS very important that Tunisia and some other countries where widespread homophobia seems to be ok come to open their eyes, open their hearts and open their minds about the fact that this unacceptable situation in severely harming their own countries! These countries are not stronger countries because they have widespread homophobia, on the contrary, they lose a lot of creativity, they lose culture, they lose on economy, they lose people being happier and living a good life! Miserable people make a miserable economy! If Tunisia really, i mean really, wants to become a wealthier, stronger, better, happier community, then they must realize LGBT people ARE part of it! There is NO OTHER WAY! This is so obvious, i just don’t understand why this is going on in Tunisia!
    Can’t they just see someone like Ahmed Ben Amor is good for Human Rights, and that his influence is a good one? Ahmed Ben Amor is not taking anything, any right, away from the religious-minded! He is no terrorist, he won’t harm anyone! He just wants to be granted the same rights as everybody else! He is on the right side of History. What is Tunisia waiting for?
    I find what is going on in Tunisia right now extremely shocking. That is the kind of sad unacceptable news that make people realize Tunisia is no place for tourism. Why should people spend their money as tourists in a country that discriminates against LGBT people?
    Maybe Tunisia has to start facing its own problems, and deal with them now so that their young people, who are their future, won’t feel all they can do is to end their lives.

    Thank you.

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