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Tunisian man jailed for reporting rape highlights LGBT struggles

After reporting his rape this past January, a Tunisian man was jailed and sentenced to six months in prison, sparking anger in the LGBT community.
Policemen in plain clothes force LGBT activists Radio Shams host, Fares Hadj Amor (C) and Femen's Amina Sboui into a vehicle as they disperse a protest in Tunis on January 27, 2018.
A call had been made to protest outside the tourism ministry under the hashtag "#Sayebni" ("Let me go") to demand the repeal of "retrograde" laws and the end of "the criminalisation of sexual freedom and discrimination against women". / AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID        (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)

The case of a Tunisian man who told authorities he was gang raped only to end up behind bars has refocused attention on the continued harassment of individuals based on sexual orientation in Tunisia. The 22-year-old, known by his initials A.F., had sought police assistance in the southern Tunisian town of Sfax in January. He was promptly arrested on charges of homosexual conduct. Yesterday, A.F. was sentenced to six months in prison for violating Article 230 of Tunisia’s penal code, which proscribes same-sex relations.

The court sentenced A.F.'s assailants to six months under the same law and to an additional two months for robbery and assault. A.F. later retracted his claim of rape, presumably to avoid imprisonment, but he was still sentenced.

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