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Tunisia

    November 26, 2015

    By Sara Hashash, Amnesty International's MENA Press Officer, in Tunis.

    After the suicide attack on a bus carrying presidential guards in central Tunis last night, life in the capital seemed to return to normal today. The streets were full of people heading to work, children on their way to school and crowds of commuters packed into the green trams crisscrossing the bustling streets. 

    But there’s no doubt that yesterday’s bombing, which killed at least 12 members of the security forces and injured 20, in the heart of the capital has shaken Tunisia to its core. The attack was the first of its kind targeting security forces on one of the city’s main thoroughfares, close to ministerial buildings, at the height of rush hour. In a sombre address to the nation last night, President Beji Caid Essebsi declared a state of emergency lasting 30 days, for a second time this year. A nightly curfew was imposed in the capital until further notice. 

    October 01, 2015

    The case of a 22-year-old student sentenced to one year in prison for engaging in “homosexual relations” has finally sparked public debate on same-sex relations in Tunisia. Yesterday, the Minister of Justice Mohamed Salah Ben Aissa made a ground-breaking public call for the decriminalization of same-sex relations.

    A court in Sousse convicted the man, known under the pseudonym Marwan, on 22 September after forcing him to undergo an anal examination to establish “proof” of anal sex. Amnesty International considers people who are arrested and detained solely on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity to be prisoners of conscience.

    On 6 September, police had summoned Marwan in relation to the murder of a man in Sousse. When he denied any involvement in the crime, but admitted to having sex with the victim reportedly after the police threatened to bring a murder charge against him, he was charged with “sodomy” under Article 230 of the Penal Code which carries a maximum three-year prison sentence. The article also criminalizes “lesbianism” although it is rarely used to detain lesbian women.

    October 28, 2014

    By Amnesty International’s research team on Tunisia

    Horns honked, children waved Tunisian flags, old men posed merrily for cameras and queues of voters spilled into school yards yesterday as Tunisians went to the polls in the first elections under the country’s new constitution, nearly four years after they took to the streets to protest against years of repression and abuse. Their enthusiasm was palpable, yet the success of the electoral process so far should not mask darker realities that persist in Tunisia.

    Since the 2010-2011 uprising that ousted the former president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, human rights violations have endured.

    This has been evident since we arrived in Tunis, where we watched families protesting against the torture of their loved ones at the hands of the security forces and calling for justice and accountability. Their stories backed up the reports we had been receiving for several weeks of cases of torture and deaths in custody.

    Little is still known about the structure of the Tunisian security forces, which have not been reformed since the uprising.