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Tunisia Liberal Party leader faces claims of gay hotel sex

Tunisia Liberal Party leader faces claims of gay hotel sex

Mounir Baatour, the leader of Tunisia’s opposition Liberal Party (PLT), has been arrested along with another man for allegedly participating in a gay sex act in a Tunis hotel Sunday (31 March) evening.

A pro-Ennahda Facebook page uses highly inflammatory and graphic descriptions of the man who was arrested along with Baatour and the alleged sexual activity – apparently in a bid to discredit PLT’s leader.

Baatour appeared Wednesday (3 April) in a Tunisian courtroom to answer the charges against him and make a plea of not guilty according to a source in the Tunisian Justice Ministry.

According to the Ministry source, Baatour was charged with the Tunisian legal equivalent of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and assault.

Allegations that he was also charged with violations of Tunisia’s strict law against gay sexy (i.e. sodomy, Article 230) have not been verified.

Baatour denies the allegations, as does the PLT.

But sources inside Tunisia told GSN that the claims may have been invented or exaggerated to discredit him politically.

Abd Wahab Heni, leader of Majd party, also alleged the case was ‘fabricated’, saying it was designed to incite moral panic and outrage Tunisians against the country’s secular left parties.

Tarek (name protected), a Tunisian blogger and LGBT rights activist, told Gay Star News: ‘Pro-Ennahda elements are spreading rumors and allegation about Baatour being a “passive sodomite” to humiliate and discredited him politically and socially.

‘If he is not arrested it is already bad enough to spread such slander. But, if he was then it’s even more frightening because we are back to the post-revolutionary methods which used “morality” and the country’s anti-gay law to silence critical voices.

‘LGBT Tunisians can’t even be safe in privacy now’.

Fadi (name protected), editor of Tunisia’s online LGBT magazine, GayDayMag, told Gay Star News: ‘I agree with Tarek – this is a cheap political game because there is no way the police would just storm a hotel room.