Tunisia: LGBT rights activist imprisoned for shouting

A Tunisian court sentenced a prominent LGBT rights activist on March 4 to six months in prison and a fine for shouting outside a police station after officers refused to register her harassment complaint, Human Rights Watch stated.

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Rania Amdouni at the office of the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women in October 2020. (Hamza Nasri photo courtesy of Hamza Nasri and HRW)

The activist, Rania Amdouni, 26, is in a women’s prison in Manouba, west of Tunis, where her lawyer said she has faced harassment by prison guards due to her gender expression. Police arrested Amdouni on February 27 at 8 p.m. after she left the police station in downtown Tunis in a distraught state, her lawyer Hamadi Hanchiri said.

At the station, Hanchiri said, police officers had refused to register Amdouni’s complaint relating to repeated harassment she said police officers subjected her to on the street and online. Police officers in the station then proceeded to harass her based on her presumed sexual orientation and gender expression.

Amdouni began shouting on the street outside the station and cursing the Tunisian police system, Hanchiri reported.

“The police response to Amdouni’s complaint keeps her from getting protection and undermines public confidence in law enforcement and the Tunisian justice system,” said Rasha Younes, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights researcher at Human Rights Watch.
(Sources: Alturi and HRW)

For more information, read the full Human Rights Watch article, “Tunisia: Harassment, Arbitrary Detention of LGBT Rights Activist”.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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