A Tunisian man who was arrested after reporting being robbed and raped to the police has been sentenced for sodomy.

The man, who was identified by the initials A.F. by the non-governmental organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW)—and as Anas by LGBT+ campaigners at AllOut—was arrested for homosexuality after reporting his rape to the police, Tunisian LGBT+ rights group Shams first reported on January 29 in a Facebook post. He was sentenced on Monday (February 11).



According to Shams, the 22-year-old man was ambushed by two men after arranging a meeting on Facebook with one of them. The two men raped him and stole his phone and jacket.

When Anas reported the crime to the local authorities in the city of Sfax, he was arrested and force to undergo an anal test—an invasive and humiliating practice that Tunisia had promised the United Nations to halt, although an official ban has yet to be imposed.

Tunisian policement pbreak off a protest by LGBT+ activists, who have protested the sentencing of a victimof rape and robbery for homosexuality.
Policemen in plain clothes arrest a Tunisian man as they disperse a LGBT+ protest in Tunis on January 27, 2018. (Fethi Belaid/AFP/Getty Images)

The Tunisian man was sentenced to a of total eight months in prison at Monday’s trial.

Six of the eight months will be served under article 230 of the country’s penal code, which bans gay sex and establishes a maximum punishment of three years’ imprisonment. He will also serve two months for slander, according to French news agency AFP, as the court ruled that the 22-year-old man did not suffer rape, but a dispute following the sexual relationship.

His assailants were also sentenced to a total eight months in prison—six months for gay sex, 15 days for violence, and a month and a half for theft.

Tunisian man one of dozens of LGBT+ people in the country convicted under law banning gay sex

The Tunisian LGBT+ rights group Damj, which provided Anas with legal support, protested the sentencing as the “kind of trial that represents a flagrant violation of human rights and moral dignity” in a statement quoted by AFP.

AllOut said they collected 25,000 signatures in a petition to Tunisia’s Prime Minister, Youssef Chahed, as part of their campaign to free Anas ahead of the conviction, and that they will keep advocating for his freedom.

Human Rights Watch quotes Anas’ defence lawyer saying that the Tunisian man is appealing his conviction, but that he has also retracted his allegation of rape and denied having sexual contact with the two attackers.

In an article for HuffPost Maghreb, Shams president Mounir Baatour said that 127 LGBT+ people were imprisoned in Tunisia under article 230, which is a law that dates back from the French colonial period.




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