The activist whose topless photos sparked controversy in Tunisia told a French television station that she must “leave Tunisia” in an interview broadcast Saturday.
“I have fear for my life and the life of my family,” the woman, known as “Amina,” told interviewers from the “L’Effet Papillon” program of Canal Plus. She added that she received death threats on Facebook and that rumors were circulating about punishments radical Islamists might inflict on her.
Amina expressed her support for Femen, the feminist organization that originally posted her pictures and is known for topless demonstrations. However, she criticized protests that took place April 4th in which topless activists burned a Salafist flag in front of a Paris mosque. She told Canal Plus that these were “unacceptable” because they insulted all Muslims, not just Salafists.
Femen used the slogan “Free Amina” while organizing its April 4th “International Topless Jihad Day,” but Amina said in the interview that she did not approve of the group using her name for this purpose.
Femen responded to Amina’s comments on its Facebook page, saying Amina “is not aware of how it really happened,” and that the activists did not “pronounce her name” during the protests in front of the mosque.
Amina’s whereabouts had been a subject of speculation since late March, with Femen asserting she was missing and possibly institutionalized in a psychiatric facility.
In Saturday’s interview, Amina told Canal Plus that her family had found her in a café and took her home after the initial pictures were posted online and she appeared on a Tunisian talk show. A cousin broke her cell phone’s SIM card and beat her up, and she was forced to stay with her family, she said. Amina added that she was lucky to have a father who handled the situation well.
Amina stated that no Tunisian private school would now accept her, and that she wishes to pursue her education abroad.