First Published: 2013-08-01

 

Big surprise: Tunisia Femen activist goes free

 

Judiciary orders release of Femen activist Amina Sboui pending trial for desecrating cemetery.

 

Middle East Online

Aminas battle not over yet

TUNIS - The Tunisian judiciary on Thursday ordered the release of Femen activist Amina Sboui pending trial for desecrating a cemetery, her lawyer Halim Meddeb said.

"She will be free within hours. I wasn't expecting this," he said, adding that it was a "big surprise."

The young woman has been detained since May faces trial for painting the word "Femen" on a cemetery wall in protest at a planned meeting of radical Salafists.

Another of Sboui's lawyers, Ghazi Mrabet, said: "This is a relief. It shows that at least part of Tunisia's judiciary is independent."

Sboui's mother expressed her joy at the release, saying: "I will finally have her in my arms. The judiciary has showed that it is independent."

Amina sparked both scandal and a wave of online support after she was threatened by Tunisia's increasingly active hardline Islamists for posting topless pictures of herself on Facebook earlier this year.

Her family said that she suffered from chronic depression and had suicidal tendencies, and they prevented her from going out, claiming her safety was at risk.

But the young woman, who accused her relatives of holding her in captivity and beating her, ran away from home in April and had regularly appeared in public before her detention in May, although never topless.

The Femen movement, founded in Ukraine and now based in Paris, has flourished since 2010, with feminists around the world stripping off in protest at a wide range of issues linked to the mistreatment of women, but also against dictatorship.

At the end of May, three Femen activists -- two French and a German -- were arrested after bearing their breasts outside the main Tunis courthouse, in a demonstration of support for Amina.

The arrest of the three women triggered international condemnation and they were released a month later.

 

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