Interview with Badr Baabou, president and co-founder of “Damj” on the current situation of LGBTQI in Tunisia (Interview auf Deutsch)
Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation (HES): Hello Badr. Tunisia is the only country in which one has the impression that the so-called Arab spring, which started in Tunisia in 2010 with so much hope, has led to an improvement in the human rights situation. How has this impacted on the situation of LGBTQI?
Badr Baabou: Unfortunately, the situation of the LGBTQI community is not good. LGBTQI still experience discrimination in everyday life, violence and arbitrary arrests. To be gay in Tunisia, is a crime and will be punished under Tunisian law. Under article 230 of the Penal Code, sodomy is punishable with three years prison (Note: also same-sex sexual acts are understood under sodomy in many Arab countries, especially between men).
HES: And this provision is applied in practice?
Badr: On 6 September 2015 a young student was jailed based on article 230. The wording of the provision does not clearly state whether the accused must be immediately caught in a sexual act or whether it is sufficient if he is merely suspected to have had sex with the same gender. The legal system in Tunisia can revert to instruments such as the “anal test” to confirm the accusations. Such a “medical investigation” was carried out in the case of Marwen to prove previous repeated anal penetration. Marwen was sentenced to one year in prison. But Marwen was not the first victim that was persecuted because of article 230.