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    Femen Activist Amina Remains in Custody, Trial Continues Next Week

    By Asma Smadhi | May 31 2013 Share on Linkedin Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Share on pinterest Print

    Tags: activism , Amina , Femen , feminism , kairouan ,
    amina kairouan femen

    Amina Sboui. Image courtesy Femen France Facebook page.

    The controversial Femen activist Amina Sboui was convicted Thursday of carrying an “incendiary object” and fined 300 dinars (182 U.S. dollars). Amina will remain under custody, as she faces other serious charges for which she will go to court June 5.

    The new charges against Amina include “offending public decency,” “forming an accord” with the Femen activist organization, and  ”desecrating a cemetery.”

    The three Femen activists who staged a topless protest in support of Amina on Wednesday in front of the Palace of Justice in Tunis are still under arrest and awaiting trial.

    Amina began her Femen activities in Tunisia by posting topless pictures of herself on Facebook on March 11. She had agreed with Femen to take the organization’s campaign to Tunisia, she said on March 16 during an interview with the talk show “Labes” on the Ettounisya television station.

    Amina was arrested May 19 in the Tunisian city of Kairouan. She had announced on her Facebook page that she would appear in Kairouan to protest against the Salafist organization Ansar al-Sharia, which was expected to hold their annual congress there. As the location of the Ansar al-Sharia’s congress was changed, Amina opted for writing the word “Femen” on the fence of a cemetery, an action that aroused the anger of bystanders.

    The police force escorted Amina to a nearby police station to protect her, and she was held there for seven hours, she said Thursday when asked by the court about the circumstances of her arrest. A report was written against Amina at 8:00 pm, when the police searched her backpack and found a bottle of “paralyzing gas.”

    During Thursday’s trial, Amina’s defense team of five lawyers argued that the law on which Amina’s charge is based cannot be applied.  One of Amina’s layers, Mokhtar Janene, argued that the bottle of gas carried by Amina was invented after the enactment of the law, which dates back to 1894. Janene asserted that the legislature was not addressing this specific type of gas when drafting the legislation.

    The legal team also argued that the word written by Amina, “Femen,” is not obscene .

    “The paralyzing bottle of gas is used for self-protection,”said one of Amina’s lawyers, who also argued that her defendant “…went to Kairouan only to attend the congress and to watch it as a citizen.” The allegation was met by a fierce reaction from the prosecutors.

    The prosecutors were acting on behalf of a petition against Amina signed by citizens of Kairouan. The petition claims that Amina harmed public morality and came to Kairouan to cause a disturbance and to provoke people.

    The court said that it would not allow any individuals to file personal lawsuits against Amina.

    The scene outside of the court was fraught with tension as the crowd that gathered in the early morning kept growing, many shouting “Allahu akbar” and “degage.”

    Tension also escalated in the court room even before the beginning of the trial, with some of the lawyers yelling at each other.

    Amina’s father emotionally addressed the court.

    “I am proud of my daughter,” he said, but “…she committs rash acts.”

    Henda Hendoud and Monia Ghozleni, two Tunisian activists, and Leila Ben Debba, Amina’s lawyer, told Tunisia Live that the trial was highly politicized.

    Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article included a comment by Amina’s legal team that the word “Femen” means “woman” in Latin and Russian. While this accurately reflects what was said in the courtroom, it was removed because Tunisia Live does not believe it to be a factual statement.

  • By Asma Smadhi  / Journalist
  • Asma Smadhi is a journalist reporting on national affairs, politics, and culture. She is pursuing an MA in Intercultural Studies at the Tunis School of Human Sciences (ISHHT), and previously obtained a BA in Literature, Civilization, and Linguistics at the same school.

    Topics

    People

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  • kairouan
  • Organization

  • Femen
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    Comments

      M. Amor /

      They making a big deal out of looking at a woman’s breast it is like these men have never seen a breast,this is a psychological hang up they need a psychiatrist

      • Emine /

        we don’t care for her breasts, she tagged a cemetery idiot and was holding a pepper spray without a permit or do you support holding guns and arms without a permit you will make pro alqaida looters and anarchists happy

    1. karak /

      yeah baby…more nights in jail for the mentally disturbed…

      It is sad actually, they should let her go, have her pay a good fine…and just let her go…

    2. maria /

      @ karak yeah baby…more nights in jail for the mentally disturbed…Jail is not the place for the mentally disturbed if of course that is what she is. If she was a Salifast, and maybe if she had bomb making equipment then no doubt she would be on a suspended sentence by now. Those Salifast that are good people should stop those who want anarchy before they all get the same name

    3. CyndaMarie /

      Some things you just need to ignore. Stop making such a big deal out the things this sad sick girl is doing. Just laugh at her and move on. You have bigger things to worry about.

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