Tunisia: one year in prison for the president of an LGBT association

Since the 2011 revolution, LGBT activists have emerged from the shadows in Tunisia, where local NGOs openly defend the rights of this community, which is still relatively rare in the Arab world.

The president of Tunisia’s main LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender) association announced on Tuesday that he had been sentenced to one year in prison for a Facebook post deemed blasphemous towards the Prophet Muhammad, although he denies being one. author.

“The correctional chamber of the court of first instance of Tunis has just sentenced me to one year in prison, a thousand dinars fine (300 euros) and two years of administrative control for having blasphemed the prophet Muhammad”, wrote Mounir Baatour, president of the Shams association, on his Facebook page.

Mounir Baatour lives in France after leaving Tunisia in 2019 following complaints and threats over a Facebook post attributing to him comments presenting Muhammad as sexually obsessed. Mounir Baatour categorically denies having made such remarks. Created in 2015, the Shams association (“sun” in Arabic) campaigns for the decriminalization of homosexuality in Tunisia.

Tunisian President Kais Saied opposes a decriminalization of homosexuality, but is also opposed to incarceration on the basis of sexual orientation.

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