Tunisian court praised for releasing eight men convicted under ‘sodomy’ laws
Eight men who were arrested and charged with offences relating to gay sex have been released.
The court has been praised by local LGBT rights group Shames for making the “courageous” decision of rescinding the charges.
Local reports had originally suggested that only three men were arrested, and that they had been charged with offences linked to sex work.
However Ahmed Ben Amor, the vice president of Shams went on the record with Tunisia Live to say that eight men were arrested, and that the men had not been arrested for prostitution.
Amor said the reports were inaccurate in terms of both the number of men arrested, as well as the nature of the charges.
He said they were arrested under Article 230 of the Tunisian Penal Code, which criminalises gay sex.
Amor said that two of the men had previously been arrested, and that the attention gained by the case had shown the “homophobic behaviour” of the police, as well as their “refusal to respect individual freedoms”.
Shams celebrated the release of the eight men, but condemned authorities for the incident having taken place in the first place.
The organisation said the arrest amounts to an “assault on individual liberty and physical integrity as well as a violation of international treaties that Tunisian has ratified.”
Some of the men may still face drug charges, as they were subjected to drug tests when then were in prison.