We need your help on IDAHOT

I have to confess that before October 2015, I wasn’t overly familiar with Tunisia. It was just one of those countries that I didn’t really know much about. The only real connection I had with it was when I visited Tunis for about two days whilst on a quick tour of the Med when I was five. At that age, I wasn’t exactly in the best position to learn much about it. However, Tunisia has kept popping up on Amnesty’s radar quite frequently over the past six months or so. If I wasn’t familiar with it before, I certainly am now.

The first case to come up was way back in October 2015, when Amnesty campaigned for the release of ‘Marwan’, a Tunisian student. ‘Marwan’ was questioned by police after his number was found on the phone of a murdered man. During questioning, he was forced to admit to having a relationship with the man and subsequently beaten, threatened with rape and subjected to an examination to establish ‘proof’ of anal sex. Fortunately, ‘Marwan’ was released after his sentence was reduced on appeal on 17 December 2015.

The next was in December 2015. Six Tunisian men were sentenced to three years imprisonment for sodomy, after being arrested at a party. Only one of the men was represented by a lawyer and each were, like ‘Marwan’, subjected to torture in the form of anal examinations. After much trauma, the men were set free.

Even though both of these cases had a relatively positive outcome, this doesn’t change the fact that Tunisia isn’t exactly the best place to be LGBTI. The Tunisian Penal Code criminalises consensual same-sex sexual relations between adults. It also includes articles that criminalise acts and expression that are “offensive or undermine public morals and decency” and which are used to prosecute people based on the expression of their gender identity. These laws put LGBTI people at risk of arrest and prosecution on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity and create a climate of abuse from State and non-State actors with little accountability.

Take action – tell Tunisia being gay isn't a crime

This is why Amnesty needs your help on the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), which takes place on Tuesday 17 May. All you have to do is take part in our social media action by tweeting the Tunisian Prime Minister at @Habib_essid and the Tunisia Parliament at @ARPtn, calling on them to set in motion a change of their country’s laws.

Suggested tweets:

Assaulted & then accused of “sodomy” #Tunisia: Repeal #Art230 @Habib_essid @ARPtn

Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');

In #Tunisia LGBTI are raped and told they’re responsible for the crime. Repeal #Art230 @Habib_essid @ARPtn

Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');

Same-sex sexual relations are not a crime, #Tunisia repeal #Article230 @Habib_essid @ARPtn

Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');

#Tunisia your Constitution promises no discrimination, prove it and repeal #Article230 @Habib_essid @ARPtn

Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');

Do keep an eye on the LGBTI network’s Twitter and Facebook feeds on IDAHOT (Tuesday 17 May), where we'll be re-tweeting and sharing messages. We thank you in advance for taking part - you are the people that make Amnesty what it is, and are a force for change in ensuring all people, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity, have their human rights upheld. Let’s make this year’s IDAHOT a significant one by raising awareness of the plight of the Tunisian LGBTI community, and campaigning for change. Together, we can make that much needed difference. 

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