A former presidential candidate and leader of Tunisia’s largest LGBT+ rights group said he has been forced to flee to France after “very serious” death threats from Islamist elements within the conservative north African country. Mounir Baatour, who stood in September’s presidential poll on behalf of the small Tunisian Liberal Party, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that local authorities had informed him that “the Islamists want to kill me”. “The police contacted me and said they considered the threat as very serious,” he said by phone from France where has been accepted as a political refugee. The Tunisian government did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Baatour’s status as the only openly gay presidential candidate brought him into the limelight in the overwhelmingly Muslim country, where gay sex is punishable by up to three years in jail.