Tunisia invokes sharia law in bid to shut down LGBT rights group

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04/30/2019

One of the Arab world’s most visible advocacy groups defending the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people is facing closure following legal threats by the government. Association Shams has been officially operating in Tunisia since 2015, helping the country’s LGBT community repeal article 230 of its penal code, a French colonial law, which criminalises homosexuality with up to three years in jail. The government failed to permanently suspend Shams’ activities in a 2016 lawsuit, but is appealing the ruling. A hearing is scheduled for Friday. Shams’ president, Mounir Baatour, said the appeal represents the Tunisian government’s seventh attempt to close the organisation, but it is more serious because it has been based on Islamic sharia law.

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