• LGBTI organization Shams says the pair were simply walking down the street. (Getty Images / Romolo Tavani)Source: Getty Images / Romolo Tavani
The men were slapped, insulted and forced to sign a statement while in police custody.
Michaela Morgan

15 Mar 2017 - 10:38 AM  UPDATED 15 Mar 2017 - 10:38 AM

Two men in Tunisia have been sentenced to eight months in prison because a police officer suspected that they were gay.

Achref, 20, and Sabri, 21 were arrested after they were stopped by police in the city of Sousse—three hours south of Tunis.

Achref says that one police officer said: “You were doing something with your boyfriend, weren’t you? You bring the curse on the country.”

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Mounir Baatour, President of Tunisian LGBTI organisation Shams has told Gay Star News that while the pair was simply walking down the street, one police officer said he saw them engaging in sodomy.  

"For the police they were looking gay," he said. "I don’t know what they mean with that, but the police, they have a stereotype of what 'gay' looks like."

According to French newspaper L’Express, Achref and Sabri were then mistreated in police custody, where they were slapped, insulted and forced to sign a written statement of the allegations.

Achref says they were also subjected to anal probing, to determine if they had engaged in gay sex.

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The test was ordered by the Attorney General, who said if they did not undergo the examination, it would be used by the judge as evidence.

The pair were released from prison five days after their arrest on December 13, and appeared before the court on March 10.

While not currently in prison, they will have to serve their sentences if the ruling is confirmed in April.

According to Tunisia’s penal code of 1913, homosexuality is punishable by up to three years in prison.