Two men were arrested and sentenced to prison in Tunisia for wearing make-up.
The Court of Appeal in the city of Sousse, 150 km south of the capital of Tunis, sentenced the 19 and 25-year-old on Monday (13 March).
They were arrested in the city of Hammam on 12 January; media reports of their arrest also say the two men were gay, although it is unconfirmed whether they are a couple.
While local media has identified these people as men, they are known to frequently misgender trans women. For the purpose of this article, we will be using male pronouns. We are continuing to investigate.
On Monday, the court charged them with indecent on the basis of owning ‘feminine effects’, according to news website Kapitalis.
The men were not sentenced under Article 230 of the penal code, which bans homosexuality.
Instead, the two appeals judges sentenced them under Article 226, for ‘attacking the decency of others by an obscene attitude’.
The evidence against the two young men, according to Shams, was that they had make-up and women’s clothing in their apartment. According to Arabesque, they owned women’s underwear.
It was found when police searched the home. They did not have a search warrant, Kapitalis reports.
The two men were already sentenced to two months in prison in January, but appealed the ruling.
On Monday, judges upheld the original prison sentence.
The young men are already free again, though. After their arrest and subsequent appeal, they were held in prison awaiting the appeals trial.
Because they were not released in between, the judges said they had served their sentence.
Speaking to Kapitalis, Shams described the sentence as an attack on personal freedom.
Homosexuality is illegal in Tunisia and can be punished with a prison sentence of up to three years.