Tunisian LGBT rights group Shams given 30-day suspension

'Non-compliance with rule-of-law principles'

05 January, 19:29

    Gay activists Gay activists

    (ANSAmed) - TUNIS, JANUARY 5 - The Shams association, which works for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Tunisia and seeks the decriminalization of homosexual activities, has been ordered to suspend its activities for 30 days.

    The group made the announcement on its Facebook page.

    The vice president of the association, Hedi Sahly - who sought refuge in Paris after receiving death threats for her work in the group - told local media that the suspension was for non-compliance with rule-of-law principles and that the association had been fined on the basis of Article 45 of the law on associations. The official recognition of Shams, the first pro-LGBT association in the country, on May 18 last year had sparked heated debate in Tunisia. Some saw it as progress in the field of the rights of minorities, while the mufti called on the authorities to revoke their decision, since it was ''a threat to future generations through the promotion of deviant and perverse behaviors''.

    Criticism generally came from the most conservative part of society, such as imams who said it was setting a ''dangerous precedent against Islamic teachings''. Shams has made a name for itself in recent months for its defense of citizens sentenced for ''homosexuality'' and has struggled to get Article 230 of the criminal code abolished, on the basis of which it is considered a crime. (ANSAmed).

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