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Trans woman sentenced to 4-month prison sentence in Tunisia

Trans woman sentenced to 4-month prison sentence in Tunisia

A trans woman was jailed in popular tourist town Hammamet

A Tunisian trans woman was jailed for four months for being herself.

Various media reports refer to the 19-year-old, known as Myriam, by what is presumably her dead name and also use male pronouns.

According to her lawyer Mounir Baatour, she was arrested in November 2016 while celebrating a Halloween party.

Baatour told Kapitalis Myriam was arrested becaue she was wearing women’s clothing.

During the police interrogation, she came out to them as a trans woman.

Police then took her to the station and, according to her lawyer, tortured, humiliated and ridiculed Myriam.

The prosecutor let Myriam free, but she had to appear in the District Court of Hammamet on 19 January.

Cantonal court

Myriam was charged with insulting an official during the performance of his duties, harm to good morals, ostentatious demonstration of behavior contrary to modesty.

She was sentenced to four months in prison, beginning immediately.

Speaking to Tuniscope, Baatour denounced the police’s brutal behavior towards the young woman, saying they mistreated her.

She was reportedly also made to sign a procès-verbal, a written statement of facts in support of a charge, without having the chance to read it.

Baatour also claims Myriam was charged because of her feminine appearance and called the charge an ‘attack on individual freedom’.

‘It’s a file mounted from scratch by transphobia,’ he said.

The lawyer also told Tuniscope Myriam’s wasn’t a single, rare case.

In the past, other trans people have received heavier prison sentences, he said.

In Tunisia, all same-sex activity is illegal and can be punished with a prison sentence of up to three years. Trans people can legally change their birth-assigned gender to match their identity.

Wearing clothes not conforming with the birth-assigned gender is, in theory, not illegal. But trans people are often accused of, and prosecuted for, violating article 226 of the penal code which outlaws ‘outrages against public decency’.