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Infos: Tunisia court drops case against LGBTQ rights activist

Tunisian human rights activists hold a rally outside a court in the east-central city of Kairouan …   –   Copyright © africanews KABIL BOUSENA/AFP or licensors By Rédaction Africanews with AFP Last updated: 18 hours ago Tunisia A Tunisian appeals court has ruled that the prosecution of a queer activist in a landmark LGBTQ case is

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Infos: Tunisia court drops case against LGBTQ rights activist
Tunisian human rights activists hold a rally outside a court in the east-central city of Kairouan …   –  

Copyright © africanews

KABIL BOUSENA/AFP or licensors

Tunisia

A Tunisian appeals court has ruled that the prosecution of a queer activist in a landmark LGBTQ case is “null and void,” an NGO and a judicial spokesman said Tuesday.

The decision in the case known as “students of Kairouan”, concerns only Daniel, the nickname of the activist present at the hearing of December 19, the other five Tunisian defendants having found asylum abroad

“It is a victory for Daniel and for us,” said the Tunisian Association for Justice and Equality (Damj) in a message to AFP.

The prosecution was dropped because of a procedural defect “because the police had opened the computer” of Daniel without judicial authorization, said AFP spokesman of the Court of Appeal of Kairouan (center), Riadh Ben Halima.

About thirty activists of the LGBTQ cause had gathered on the day of the appeal trial in front of the court of Kairouan, at the call of Damj and the Tunisian League of Human Rights (LTDH).

They had called to “remove the article of shame”, referring to Article 230 of the Penal Code which punishes homosexual acts with a penalty of up to three years in prison.

The case dated back to 2015 when six students were arrested on charges of “sodomy”, before being sentenced to three years in prison and banned from the Kairouan region for another three years.

The following year, their sentence was reduced on appeal to 40 days in detention, but in 2018 the Court of Cassation reversed this verdict and sent the case back to appeal.

On December 19, Daniel told AFP that the hearing had gone “well”.

Article 230 dates back to 1913, under French colonization, but was retained in the legislation after independence in 1956.

This law also provides for an anal test, carried out by forensic doctors, denounced as “degrading and inhumane” by several NGOs which are calling for its abolition.

“For the first time,” according to Damj, the prosecutor's office requested on December 19 that the results of the anal tests be excluded from the prosecution case.

Since the 2011 revolution, LGBT+ activists have come out of the shadows in Tunisia, but their condition remains precarious, due to this repressive legislation and still violent social rejection.

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              Foreign

              Infos: Pope Francis in DRC on a “mission of peace”

              Pope Francis greets well-wishers after arriving in Kinshasa, Congo, Tuesday Jan. 31, 2023   –   Copyright © africanews Jerome Delay/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved By Rédaction Africanews and Serge Koffi Last updated: 7 hours ago Pope Francis The plane carrying the Holy Father arrived at Kinshasa International Airport in the middle of Tuesday afternoon.

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              Infos: Pope Francis in DRC on a “mission of peace”
              Pope Francis greets well-wishers after arriving in Kinshasa, Congo, Tuesday Jan. 31, 2023   –  

              Copyright © africanews

              Jerome Delay/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved

              Pope Francis

              The plane carrying the Holy Father arrived at Kinshasa International Airport in the middle of Tuesday afternoon.

              A dozen dignitaries including Congolese Prime Minister Sama Lukonde, alongside civil and religious authorities met him at the foot of the plane.

              Pope Francis was then escorted in his Popemobile to the Palace of the Nation where he met the Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi.

              The pontiff expressed his regret that the country, and more widely the African continent, still suffers from various forms of exploitation.

              “This country and this continent deserve to be respected and listened to, they deserve to find space and receive attention. Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa: Africa is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered. May Africa be the protagonist of its own destiny!”, said Pope Francis

              Alongside the Pope, the Congolese president spoke of the challenges facing the  Continent, notably security and the preservation of the environment.

              “The removal of security threats in our country will certainly contribute to the effectiveness of the fight against climate change and the protection of the environment. Your pastoral visit will surely contribute to strengthen this determination and our people are ready to welcome your message of peace, hope, comfort, strengthening and brotherhood”, said Felix Antoine Tshisekedi, President of the DRC

              Africanews reporter Serge Koffi added:

              “According to the organisers, Pope Francis will not be visiting the east of the country where the security crisis has lasted for more than two decades.

              It is therefore here in Kinshasa, far from the shooting and fighting that the pontiff will launch his message of peace and reconciliation with the aim of easing tensions in this part of the DRC“.

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                Pope Francis lands in DR Congo, welcomed with joy

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                          Infos: South Sudan prepares to welcome Pope Francis

                          South Sudan prepares Papal visit   –   Copyright © africanews Africanews By Africanews Last updated: 7 hours ago South Sudan Pope Francis landed in the DRC's capital, Kinshasa, on Tuesday afternoon for the first Papal visit to the DRC since 1985. The visit to the Continent includes a trip on Friday to Juba, the capital of

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                          Infos: South Sudan prepares to welcome Pope Francis
                          South Sudan prepares Papal visit   –  

                          Copyright © africanews

                          Africanews

                          South Sudan

                          Pope Francis landed in the DRC's capital, Kinshasa, on Tuesday afternoon for the first Papal visit to the DRC since 1985.

                          The visit to the Continent includes a trip on Friday to Juba, the capital of South Sudan and one of the poorest countries in the world.

                          “We hope this visit is a great opportunity for the people of South Sudan to reconcile, to reunite, and to rebuild their future as one people united”, said Andreas Mabior, Head of the choir.

                          Sister Sarah Gune Justin, a Catholic nun, added “(South Sudan, Ed.) We became helpless because of war, but with faith and trust in God we know that with the coming of the Holy Father to our country, we will experience the peace of Christ, and South Sudan is going to change, it’s not going to remain as before”.

                          The six-day trip to the DRC and South Sudan had been planned for July 2022, but postponed due to the pontiff's knee pain that has forced him to use a wheelchair in recent months.

                          “Hopefully his coming as already indicated in his motto of coming, this is his wish for the people of South Sudan, “to be united, to be one”. This is without any hesitation that is moving people of South Sudan to be one”, concluded Matthew Remijio, Catholic Bishop of South Sudan's Wau Diocese.

                          After gaining independence in 2011, South Sudan suffered a brutal five-year civil war, while continued conflict between rival ethnic groups exacts a terrible toll on civilians.

                          The Pope will be joined in Juba by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the leader of the Church of Scotland, on what he has called “an ecumenical pilgrimage of peace“.

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                                    Infos: Sacred Ivorian drum held in France about to be returned home

                                    The Djidji Ayokwe drum is emblematic of Ivorian culture and identity   –   Copyright © africanews africanews By Africanews Last updated: 3 hours ago France An Ivorian drum seized by France during colonization is about to be returned to the Ivory Coast. The sacred Djidji Ayokwe drum was used to communicate warning messages up to thirty

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                                    Infos: Sacred Ivorian drum held in France about to be returned home
                                    The Djidji Ayokwe drum is emblematic of Ivorian culture and identity   –  

                                    Copyright © africanews

                                    africanews

                                    France

                                    An Ivorian drum seized by France during colonization is about to be returned to the Ivory Coast.

                                    The sacred Djidji Ayokwe drum was used to communicate warning messages up to thirty kilometres around villages.

                                    In 1916 the drum was confiscated by the French colonial administration and transferred to France in 1930.

                                    The “talking drum”, as it was nicknamed,has been restored in a workshop near Paris under the supervision of the Quay Branly Museum.

                                    “You can see that it has been quite badly affected by wood-eating insects which have dug galleries, certainly repeatedly, and that this has structurally weakened the drum”, said Nathalie Richard, head of the conservation-restoration department at the Quai Branly Museum.

                                    “We consolidated the material, the wood itself, by impregnating it with a resin carried by a solvent. So the resin makes it possible to regain a slightly solid structure and to avoid small breakages on the edges, on the edges of the galleries, on the edges of the gaps, and so that vibrations and handling do not damage the drum any more”, concluded the head of conservation. 

                                    The drum is three metres long and weighs 430 kg. This wooden instrument is seen as carrying mystical properties and was used to warn of dangers, mobilise for war or summon villages to ceremonies or festivals.

                                    It is the first of a list of 148 works that Ivory Coast officially requested the restitution to France in late 2018.

                                    “The drum made it possible to transmit messages over long distances – up to 30 kilometres in all directions – to villages neighbouring the village of Adjamé where it was located and which were therefore interpreted by those who heard them through sound, since the Ebrié language is a tonal language”, said Hélène Joubert, head of the heritage unit of the Africa collections at the Quai Branly Museum.

                                    This traditional object, long claimed by Abidjan, is a central piece of the musical art of the Ebriés, an ethnic group in Ivory Coast.

                                    “This loss was extremely important psychologically, felt as a loss of identity and freedom. And to recover the drum is to recover one's identity and freedom”,  concluded the head of African collections. 

                                    The arrival of the Djidji Ayokwe at the Museum of Civilisation in Abidjan can only be confirmed once the French Parliament has voted on a law allowing its official return, similar to the restitution of historical pieces to Benin approved by the French parliament in December 2020.

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