Tunisian activist jailed for 'insulting' police while lodging complaint

Tunisian LGBT activist jailed for 'insulting' police while lodging complaint
2 min read
The lawyer of a Tunisian gay rights and democracy activist said she was accused of 'insulting' police officers and sentenced to prison while filing a complaint.
Amdouni was sentenced to six months in prison [Twitter]
A Tunisian gay rights and democracy activist was sentenced to six months in prison for insulting officers as she tried to lodge a complaint over police intimidation, her lawyer said on Thursday.

Rania Amdouni, a 26-year-old LGBT rights campaigner often seen at pro-democracy protests, has been the target of a smear campaign by police unions after taking part in protests against police repression in January.

Her photo has been repeatedly posted on social media, particularly by police unions, accompanied by degrading comments and personal information including her address.

Officers confiscated her identity card and targeted her with homophobic insults last August in central Tunis, prompting other protesters to attack her, according to her lawyer Amine Hadiji.

Amdouni complained against the police, who launched an internal investigation which heard evidence from her last month.

But despite legal efforts, "nobody else has been summoned to give evidence, neither witnesses nor the accused, and the court is refusing to share CCTV images" that could establish the truth, said Hadiji. 

"The insults and intimidation were happening every day, she was at the end of her nerves," he said.

After receiving a new round of insults on Saturday evening, Amdouni went to complain at a police station - where she was arrested.

She now faces six months in prison for insulting a state official, plus a nine dinar (three euro) fine for drunkenness, Hadiji said.

"This ruling will muzzle the youth," said activist Badr Baabou of rights group Damj, in which Amdouni is an active member.

"It's a message to everyone who protests or speaks out against police abuses, to shut them up."

Read also: How the LGBT community rallied against a 'homophobic' Tunisian influencer

Tunisia's 2011 revolution sparked major advances in terms of freedom of expression and political freedoms. 

But the police and justice systems have faced few reforms.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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