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Two men sent to prison in Tunisia because they ‘were looking gay’ to police

Two men sent to prison in Tunisia because they ‘were looking gay’ to police

Two men were sentenced for homosexuality in Sousse, Tunisia

Two men in Tunisia were sent to prison because a police officer suspects them to be gay.

Achref, 20, and Sabri, 21, were sentenced to eight months in prison on Friday (10 March).

They were arrested on 7 December last year in the city of Sousse, three hours south of Tunis, according to French newspaper L’Express.

‘You were doing something with your boyfriend, weren’t you,’ one of the police officers told them, Achref said.

‘You bring the curse on the country.’

Mounir Baatour, President of Tunisian LGBTI organization Shams, told Gay Star News Achref and Sabri were just walking down the street when the arrest happened.

‘For the police they were looking gay,’ he said.

‘I don’t know what they mean with that, but the police, they have a stereotype of what “gay” looks like.’

At the police station, the young men were ’slapped, insulted and forced to sign’ a written statement of the allegations made against them, Achref told L’Express.

He also said they were subject to degrading and abusive anal probe testing.

These tests involve examining someone’s anus to see if it has been penetrated.

Based on the belief that all gay men are bottoms, they are intended to ‘prove’ men have been involved in anal sex and, as a result, are seen as ‘evidence’ of homosexuality.

There is no medical evidence for these claims.

Anal probe testing has been discredited as inaccurate and is considered a form of torture and sexual assault by major NGOs.

Baatour confirmed this account, saying the test was ordered by the General Attorney.

‘The General Attorney told them if they don’t accept the anal examination, it will be considered by the judge as evidence,’ he said.

Achref and Sabri submitted to the testing.

But even though the result was ‘negative’, the Sousse court still sentenced the men.

Baatour said one of the police officers testified in a written statement he had seen the men engaged in ‘sodomy’ on the street.

Despite the defendants arguing it was untrue, and no further evidence was reportedly given, the judge found them guilty and sentenced them.

Achref and Sabri were released from their arrest on 13 December.

Their trial was originally set for 6 January, but was postponed first to 3 March and then again to 10 March.

‘They are not in prison now,’ Baatour said.

But if the ruling is confirmed next month, they will have to serve their sentences.

Shams will also appeal the ruling.

Homosexuality is illegal in Tunisia and can be punished by up to three years in prison.