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LGBTQ advocacy group faces closure following legal threats by Tunisian government

Association Shams has been operating in the north African country since 2015

By Steve Brown

Words: Steve Brown

An LGBTQ advocacy group in Tunisia is facing closure following legal threats by the government.

Association Shams has been operating in Tunisia since 2015 and has been providing help to the LGBTQ community in a bid to repeal article 230 of its penal code which criminalises homosexuality with up to three years in jail.

Back in 2016, the Tunisian government – which was reportedly forcing men to undergo forced anal examinations last year – failed to shut down the advocacy group but The Guardian now report that they are appealing its ruling and a hearing is set for this Friday (May 3).

Shams’ president, Mounir Baatour, claims the appeal is more serious to the previous six times as it has been based on Sharia law.

Baatour said: “The judicial harassment against our association has no legal basis and reflects the homophobia of the Tunisian state and its will to discriminate and stigmatise the LGBT community, which is already marginalised.

“Such harassment makes our work difficult and creates a climate of tension and fear among the team working for our association.”