A European tourist arrested over the weekend in Monastir could face charges of committing homosexual acts and attempted bribery, Shems FM reported this morning.
Contacted by Tunisia Live, General Secretary of Monastir’s Union of Security Forces Bechir Romdhani said the 60-year old tourist, who is a frequent visitor of Tunisia had engaged in sexual behavior with multiple Tunisian minors. Authorities report that the minors had received gifts and money from the unnamed suspect, and that pornographic material was found in the man’s rental home.
Police from Monastir’s judicial brigade unit arrived at the suspect’s holiday home last night, after being contacted by local residents suspicious of activities around the house. Two Tunisian minors who were present at the time were also arrested in connection with the charges.
Authorities allege that while the suspect was being questioned, he offered to pay 3,000 euros to the head of the police unit in exchange for his release.
According to lawyer Ines Jaibi, the man could face over a decade in prison if prosecuted under Tunisian law.
Article 230 of Tunisia’s penal code stipulates that engaging in homosexual behavior is a crime punishable by up to 3 years in prison.
Additionally, attempting to bribe an active police agent carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years, Jaibi said.
Conflicting reports have emerged regarding the suspect’s nationality, with some sources referring to him as French, and others Italian. Speaking with Tunisia Live, however, a representative for the French embassy confirmed that they were following the case, but were unable to provide further information so shortly after the man’s arrest.
Despite the struggling tourist economy, Tunisia has shown itself willing to prosecute foreign tourists for crimes related to homosexuality in the past. Last year, a Swedish tourist was sentenced to two years in prison for engaging in “homosexual acts.” A Belgian man was also prosecuted in 2013 for “attempted homosexual seduction.”
It is unclear whether the suspect could face additional charges in connection to the allegations.
Rahma is preparing a master thesis in Anglo-American studies. She is interested in politics and foreign affairs. Since the outbreak of the Tunisian revolution, she volunteered for several Tunisian associations such as ATIDE, Sawty and others. She writes articles about post-revolution Tunisia.