Forensic Medicine Used to Convict for Moral Crimes In Tunisia

Zied Mhirsi, in an opinion article published in Tunisia Live, writes on the use of forensic medicine to convict individuals for moral crimes. These crimes include sodomy, sexual activity outside of marriage, and cannabis use. Specifically, vaginal exams and DNA testing are used to “prove” consensual sexual activity of adults outside of marriage; Mhirsi doubts that these forensic exams actually prove the accused conduct, especially in light of the low quality samples collected by poorly trained police officers and then tested by non-accredited forensic labs.

Mhirsi argues that the use of forensic medicine for this use runs counter to international standards that require the respect of individual autonomy and bodily integrity; moreover, citizens are not being ensured their right to consent to these medical procedures. These concerns for Mhirsi are paramount in light of Tunisia’s newly founded democracy and concerns of rising incarceration rates; Tunisia has the second highest incarceration rate in Africa behind South Africa.

Read Mhirsi’s entire opinion piece, here.

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