17 March 2021: The Appeals Court in Tunis released prominent LGBTI rights activist and artist Rania Amdouni from prison, and the judge reduced the sentence to a fine of 200 dinars (around 60 euros) after sentencing her on 4 March to six months in prison for insulting police and abuse of morals, reported Human Rights Watch.
Her formal charges are “insulting a public officer while he was carrying out his duty,” “causing embarrassment and disruption,” and “apparent drunkenness”. “Insulting a public officer” under Article 125 of the Penal Code is punishable by up to one year in prison.
Amdouni’s lawyer noted that there was no evidence of her targeting a police officer or any indication that she had been drunk.
On 27 February, the artist went to a police station in Tunis to report verbal harassment based on her “gender expression and presumed sexual orientation” committed by the police.
The police officers rejected Amdouni to register the complaint and started ridiculing her. Pink News reports that one of the police officers said to the artist, “You are a homosexual, you will not win against us, and we will not allow you to defame police officers.”
Officers arrested the artist for shouting and cursing the Tunisian police system. She was imprisoned at the Manouba Women’s Civil Prison.
Amdouni has received homophobic comments from police officers online and in the street inciting violence, according to Amnesty International.
Freemuse reported that LGBTI artists living in countries criminalising homosexuality are exposed to prosecution and harsh punishment if arrested by the authorities.