The Tunisian association for the defense of LGBT rights Shams today denounced "the witch hunt" against homosexuals and showed its rejection of the application of article 230 of the Criminal Code that criminalizes homosexuality with up to three years in prison and closes the year with record figures.
"In 2018 there have been 123 arrests, at least 250 assaults, more than 500 asylum requests abroad and three homophobic murders have been committed," Mounir Baatour, Shams president and lawyer, told Efe during the press conference held in the capital under the slogan "How long?".
"By a simple accusation or by his physical appearance, the police can confiscate the telephone and if he finds in his conversations or photos a proof of his homosexuality, the person ends up in preventive detention, forced to undergo an anal test and to appear before a judge who he will judge his sexual orientation, "Baatur explained.
"Given the lack of political will to abolish this article, we have proposed an alternative: to empty it of content, if we can ban anal testing and the use of personal data as evidence, most cases will be dismissed," he said.
"Homosexuals in Tunisia are going through a fragile period and we fear we will not be able to cope with the situation that will emerge after the next elections," Shams executive director Bouhdid Belhedi warned of the legislative and presidential elections scheduled for the end of 2019. .
For Faten Kalled, former Secretary of State for Youth and member of the centrist party Afek Tounes, taking part in this debate has a political price.
"There is a fear of publicly showing their support because they believe they are going to lose votes, and most believe that society is not ready" to accept the change, but the political commitment must be to force that change, "he told Efe.
Before a room with just about twenty attendees and few journalists, Shams denounced the ostracism to which the LGBT community is subjected by the political class and the press and asked the international community greater "pressure" on the Maghreb country to accelerate his commitment to human rights.