Tunisia LGBT Laws

Censorship, Freedom of Expression, Free Speech, Right of Assembly Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

On 01 August 2012, a draft bill to was submitted to parliament that, if passed, would effectively punish remarks and words broadly deemed as insult or mocking the ‘sanctity of religion’ by a prison sentence of up to two years or a fine of 2000 dinars in fines (US$ 1,236, €1,006) to anyone convicted of violating “sacred values” and up to four years for repeat offences [R1.1].

2. Courts & Tribunals

On 20 May 2019, the Court of Appeal reportedly upheld a 2016 (quaere) ruling in favour of leading LGBT+ rights group Shams, against government efforts to shut the group down [R2.2].

On 01 March 2018, a primary court in Tunis was reported to have refused to ban the online radio station Shams Rad, which caters to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community. The decision was in response to a legal complaint filed by a union representing imams (worship leaders at mosques). The group asked the court to request that the Tunisian Internet Agency block access to Shams Rad under the pretext that it threatens ”social and family values” [R2.1].

R1.1 GayStarNews: Tunisia blasphemy bill threatens gays and free speech 11 AUG 12
R2.2 Reuters: Tunisian court victory boosts push to end gay sex ban 22 MAY 19
R2.1 GlobalVoices: Netizen Report: Tunisian Court Refuses to Ban Online LGBTQ Radio Shams Rad 01 MAR 18
Gender Identity, Intersex,
Transgender, Transexual
See also: [ ]
1. Courts & Tribunals

On 13 March 2017, the Court of Appeal in the city of Sousse reportedly sentenced two men from the City of Hammam to two months in prison for allegedly having make-up, women’s clothing and underwear in their apartment, found when police searched the home without a warrant. The two appeals judges sentenced the men under Article 226, for ‘attacking the decency of others by an obscene attitude’ [R1.1].

R1.1 GayStarNews: Two men in Tunisia sent to prison for owning women’s clothing and make-up 16 MAR 17
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

Consensual sex between same-sex couples is unlawful [R1.5]

Penal Code of 1913 (as modified) [R1.5].

Article 230. Sodomy, if it does not fit in the circumstances described in the preceding articles, shall be punished by imprisonment for three years. (Google translation)

Article 230. La sodomie, si elle ne rentre dans aucun des cas prévus aux articles précédents, est punie de l’emprisonnement pendant trois ans.


On 22 June 2018, it was reported that the decriminalization of homosexuality was one of several progressive changes reportedly recommended to President Beji Caid Essebi by the Individual Freedoms and Equality Committee (COLIBE [D1.4], [R1.3].

On 24 September 2017, it was reported that the Minister of Human Rights, Mehdi Ben Gharbia announced that citizens accused of homosexuality in Tunisia will no longer be forced to undergo any anal test however, the test may be requested by a judge but those involved will have the right to refuse it. The date when this goes into effect has not been announced [R1.2].

On 26 October 2011, Nahda party spokesman Riad Chaibi offered reassurances that the new leadership does not want to deprive citizens of individual freedoms, saying that “individual freedoms and human rights are enshrined principles” and that atheists and homosexuals are a reality in Tunisia and “have a right to exist.” According to Chaibi, in the case of homosexuals there is also “a matter of dignity, because society sees them as undervalued” [R1.1].

2. Courts & Tribunals

On 12 February 2019, it was reported that a 22-year old man identified only as Anas reported his being raped and assaulted by two thieves to the police in Sfax on 2 January. Following initial questioning he was subjected to a controversial enforced anal examination, the results of which was negative, charged with homosexual conduct and remanded in custody until his trial. On 11 February 2019, the men accused of attacking Anas reportedly received sentences of six months for homosexuality, with a further two months for physical assault and theft [R2.9].

On 24 June 2017, it was reported that the juvenile court judge in Sousse convicted a 16-year-old teenager of violating Article 230 of the Criminal Code sentencing hime, in absentia, to four months of imprisonment, for homosexuality. As a minor, the sentence will be served at the reform school in Sidi El-Hani [R2.8].

On 03 March 2016, the Appeals Court in Sousse reduced the sentence imposed on six students for homosexual activity from three years in jail to one month and ordered them to pay a fine of 400 dinars (180 euros, $195) each but lifted a previous five-year ban on entering the central city of Kairouan. Four of the defendants are expected to appeal to the Court of Cassation [R2.7].

On 07 January 2015, the appeal court in the coastal city of Sousse was reported to have released six students aged between 19 and 23 on bail pending a new hearing on 25 February. On 10 December 2015, the men were sentenced to three years imprisonment and banned from Kairouan for five years for homosexuality. Each man had to pay bail money of 500 dinars (€ 230, $249) [R2.6].

On 17 December 2015, an appeals court reportedly reduced the sentence imposed on the student known as Marwen for homosexual activity from one year to two months and ordered to pay a fine of 300 dinars ($140). Marwen will remain free because the revised sentence is equivalent to time he had already served. His lawyer Fadoua Braham said the ruling was ‘unjust and unacceptable’ and would be appealed [R2.5].

On 10 December 2015, the Court of First Instance in the city of Kairouan reportedly sentenced six Tunisian men under Article 230 of the Tunisian Penal Code which criminalizes ‘sodomy and lesbianism’, and carries a maximum prison term of three years. One of the men was additionally sentenced to six months in prison for ‘indecency’ after police found a pornographic video on his computer. The court is believed to have received evidence of involuntary anal examination [R2.4].

On 5 November 2015, 22-year old student Marwan was released on appeal on bail of 500 dinars (230 euros). His phone number was found on the body of a murder victim he confessed to having had sex with. Cleared of suspicion of murder, he was sentenced to a year in jail for gay sex [R2.3].

On 22 September 2015, it was reported that a court had sentenced a 22-year-old student to a year behind bars on charges of homosexuality after his having admitted to having had sexual relations with the victim of a murder. The student’s telephone number was found on the murder victim [R2.2].

On 04 February 2015, a 50-year-old Swedish man was convicted of taking part in homosexual acts and sentenced to two years in prison. In Tunisia, sexual intercourse between people of the same sex can be punishable by three years in prison [R2.1].

R1.5 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia 380.51kb, PDF 380.51kb, 13 MAY 11
D1.4 Report (in Arabic): Final Report PDF JUL 18
R1.3 mpcJournal: Decriminalizing Homosexuality in Tunisia? 22 JUN 18
R1.2 News24: 24 SEP 17
R1.1 ThinkProgress LGBT: New Tunisian Government Promises ‘Dignity’ For Gays 26 OCT 11
R2.9 MiddleEastMonitor: Tunisia rape victim jailed for homosexuality 12 FEB 19
R2.8 Kapitalis (in French): Homosexuality: Four months of prison for a 16-year-old 24 JUN 17
R2.7 AlArabia: Tunisia cuts sentences over homosexual activity 04 MAR 16
R2.6 ahramOnline: Tunisia court bails students jailed for homosexuality 07 JAN 16
R2.5 TheDailyStar: Tunisia court cuts youth’s sentence for homosexual activity 17 DEC 15
R2.4 AmnestyInternational: Tunisia: Sentencing of six men for same-sex relations highlights state’s entrenched homophobia 14 DEC 15
R2.3 GayStarNews: Tunisia student jailed for gay sex released after international outcry 06 NOV 15
R2.2 Vanguard: Tunisian student gets year in jail for ‘homosexuality’ 24 SEP 15
R2.1 RadioSweden: Swedish man to serve jail time for homosexuality 07 FEB 15