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Tunisia gay rights leader attempts suicide for second time in a week after facing death threats

Tunisia gay rights leader attempts suicide for second time in a week after facing death threats

Ahmed Ben Ahmor attempted suicide

A gay rights leader in Tunisia has attempted suicide for the second time in a week after facing death threats.

Ahmed Ben Amor, the vice president of the Shams LGBTI group, is in a deep coma after ingesting dozens of pills.

He faced hatred and threats after calling on TV for an end to the law that criminalizes gay sex in Tunisia.

On Saturday, he ingested a pill cocktail shortly after arriving home from his first suicide attempt. His housemate arrived home around half an hour after he took the pills and found the activist still conscious.

‘I want to die,’ Ahmed said, before losing consciousness.

He was rushed to the hospital where his bodies slipped into a deep coma, the lowest possible rating on the Glasgow coma scale where he cannot open his eyes and makes no sound or movement.

Doctors say the odds of survival are ‘quite slim’.

‘I’m sorry I let go of everything,’ Ahmed wrote on Facebook from his hospital bed after his first initial attempt. ‘I couldn’t deal with it, I couldn’t deal with the death threats, the call to lynchings.

‘Death is far better than denial.’


Ahmed received a wave of death threats after he appeared on a popular talk show, Klam a Naas, calling for an end to the country’s sodomy law.

Many viewers were shocked at seeing the promotion of LGBTI rights on national television and, so, started calling for him to be imprisoned, assaulted or killed.

After Ahmed attempted suicide for the first time, Hamad Sinno, the lead singer of Labanese rock band Mashrou’ Leila, helped to start a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #WeLoveYouAhmed.

And other people soon followed.

Tunisia’s law punishes gay sex between consenting adults with imprisonment for up to three years. Trans people, and sometimes other members of the LGBTI community, are also often accused and charged with the law that outlaws ‘outrages against public decency’.

His friend Conor Michael said: ‘Despite the tragic events that have unfolded this week, Ahmed has been a shining star for the LGBT movement in Tunisia.

‘His bravery and courage in the face of often overwhelming amounts of vitriol has been inspirational for so many. Although the climate in Tunisia remains homophobic, Ahmed’s work in bringing the LGBT rights movement into the public eye has sparked debate about the topic, which was largely nonexistent before.

‘In short, he has had a profoundly positive impact on his country.’