Several Tunisian celebrities posed in front of the camera with signs of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) flag, on which the following phrase was written: “Article 230, until when?”
Among those in support of LGBT rights are Suhair Bin Amara, Sawsen Maalej, Jalila Baccar, Salma Baccar, and Raouf Ben Amor.
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Article 230 of the Penal Code was passed in 1913 and later modified in 1964, a year after declaring Tunisia as a one party-state (the Socialist Destourian Party) under President Habib Bourguiba. Private acts of same-sex in Tunisia are illegal between consenting adults and the penalty could reach three years in prison.
Calls for LGBT rights were met with a firm response by President Beji Caid Essebsi in mid-December 2015, as he confirmed his refusal to cancel or modify the penalty against homosexuals. Essebsi retaliated: “I absolutely refuse the cancellation of the penalty against homosexuals and the article 230 of the Penal Code.”