“Kill Them, They Are Sodomites” – Police Violence Against LGBT People in Tunisia

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12/10/2020

On October 6, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists in Tunisia raised their voices and banners in the street, amid the hundreds of demonstrators who were peacefully protesting a draft law that would drastically limit criminal accountability for the use of force by the security forces. By a cruel irony, police attacked the demonstrators, including LGBT activists, and arbitrarily arrested them. The proposed law, if passed, would embolden security forces in their use of excessive force and send an alarming message to Tunisians, especially members of marginalized groups, already vulnerable to police misconduct, that they will not be protected from police violence. For LGBT people, who are often excluded from government protection, the passage of this law is terrifying. Here’s why: On August 5, Ahmed El-Tounsi, a transgender Tunisian man and founder of the trans rights organization OutCasts, thought he would bleed to death on the street. El-Tounsi and other trans activists were walking near the French Embassy in Tunis when police officers guarding the embassy approached them and asked for their IDs. When the officers saw the mismatch between their IDs and their gender expression, and after a verbal altercation, the police physically and verbally assaulted them, the activists said.

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