A 19-year-old Tunisian was celebrating Halloween last year at a party in Hammamet - a popular tourist destination - when she was arrested for wearing women’s clothing.
Known as Myriam, the teenager was then taken to the local police station where she was “tortured, humiliated and ridiculed,” according to her lawyer, Mounir Baatour.
She was later freed, but had to appear at the District Court on January 19, where she was charged with ‘insulting an official during the performance of his duties, harm to good morals and ostentatious demonstration of behaviour contrary to modesty’.
Myriam was sentenced to four months in prison, effective immediately.
Speaking to local media, Baatour says Myriam was charged because of her feminine appearance and called her treatment by police and the court as “an attack on individual freedom”.
"It’s a file mounted from scratch by transphobia," says Baatour.
Tunisia is a dangerous place for the LGBT+ community, where same-sex sexual activity is illegal and can be punished with a three-year prison sentence.
Gender confirmation surgery is not technically illegal, however trans people are often prosecuted under the broad umbrella of violating ‘public decency’.
Baatour says Myriam’s is not an isolated case in the country and that in the past, other trans people have received even lengthier sentences.