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Tunisians accused of homosexual sex are forced to have anal exams

By Fabio Crispim

In a report by the Human Rights Watch, it states that Tunisia has been inflicting anal examinations on people accused of having homosexual sex.

Though Tunisia is a member of Convention against Torture, the International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights they continue to violate the three organisations.

The Human Rights Watch reports that Tunisia had sentenced seven men for same-sex conduct in the last six moths. All of the men were convicted under article 230 of the penal code, which criminalises “sodomy” with up to three years in prison. Five men who were sentenced were interviewed by the Human Rights Watch and they all said that police had beaten them, abused them and they were forced to have anal examinations.

A 22-year-old student, Marwen (His name was changed for legal reasons) was summoned for questioning after his telephone number appeared on the phone of a man who was murdered a week earlier. Marwen explains to Human Rights Watch that he “Was taken into a room where there were seven or eight police agents. They started to ask me questions, and told me the man was dead. I said, ‘Come with me to the shop, you’ll see that I was at work at the time he was killed, I didn’t leave my work, there are surveillance cameras.’ The police said, ‘I don’t give a damn about that.'”

Marwen continued, saying that “They started to ask, ‘What is the age difference between you? How do you know such an old man? Was he f*cking you or were you f*cking him?’ I said, ‘What are all these questions?'”

“They started slapping me. I don’t even know where all of this was coming from – They didn’t catch me doing anything and suddenly I find myself in this situation. They started slapping me in the face, several of them. They said, ‘If you don’t talk we’ll use other methods. We’ll make you sit on a glass bottle of Fanta.'”

Human Rights Watch states that sodomising someone with a soda bottle used to be a common form of torture.

Gay rights activists lift a rainbow flag during the Eighth Annual March against Homophobia and Transphobia in Havana

“They threatened, ‘We will abuse you, we will rape you. One of the cops told me, ‘If you admit your homosexuality and your affair with this man, we won’t charge you with participation in the murder of this man. It’s in your interests.’ I thought he was telling me the truth and that they would let me go, so i invented a story about a relationship with that man.”

However, Human Rights Watch states that instead of releasing Marwen the police placed him in a pre-charge detention for three days and two days after the interrogation, police took him to the Farhat Hached Hospital in Sousse for an examination. The doctor said that he was going to check Marwen for “sperm from the man who was killed.”

“The doctor told me to strip completely and get on the examination table. The doctor told me to bend over. The police were not in the room. There were two female trainees. The doctor put his finger inside me. he moved the finger around. The two women were watching.”

The doctor didn’t inform Marwen of the results and did not tell him that the examination was not to look for the murder victim’s sperm, but that it would be used in court as general evidence of homosexual conduct.

Marwen said that after 12 days he was put on trial and sentenced to one year in prison then in December the appeals court in Sousse reduced the sentence to two months. He is appealing to the cassation court.

You can read the rest of Human Right Watch’s report here.