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Tunisia Sentences 6 Men to Prison for Homosexuality


A Tunisian court Monday gave six young men the maximum sentence for homosexuality.

Each defendant will spend three years in prison. Police arrested them last month after neighbors denounced them.

Their lawyer says she will appeal the verdict. Homosexuality remains a crime in mainly Muslim Tunisia even after the 2011 uprising that overthrew a longtime dictator and introduced democracy.

The human rights group Amnesty International condemned Monday's verdict and called the anal examinations the defendants were forced to undergo a form of torture.

"Nobody should be imprisoned based on their sexual orientation or sexual activity," Said Boumedouha, Amnesty's deputy director for the Middle East said Monday. "This case highlights the entrenched levels of state homophobia in the country and how far Tunisia still has to go before LGBTI [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex] people can enjoy full sexual and gender identity rights."

The government's only comment on the case Monday was from an interior ministry spokesman who told Tunisian radio that the law is the law.

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