Photo credit: Rabii KalboussiAround two hundred people gathered yesterday in Tunis in support of a young woman who accused two policemen of raping her on September 3 and was subsequently charged with indecency.
The crowd expressed outrage that the woman and her fiancé were summoned by a magistrate on September 26 to face charges of “indecency” brought by the officers in question.
“I can not believe that the victim has turned into the accused. Nothing justifies rape,” said Samira Egha, a 55 year old woman who participated in the protest.
On September 11, a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior stated that three police officers “caught [the woman] in an immoral act” with a male companion, after which she alleges that she was raped.
In an interview with Ettounsiya TV station, the young woman and her fiancé denied the charges being brought against them. “When the police attacked us, my fiancé and I were sitting in my car, talking,” said the young woman.
Describing the circumstances of the incident, the woman said that two police officers raped her, one of them twice.
“When I was sitting with my fiancé in the car, three police officers came to us. One of them took my fiancé away and the two others took me to a police car and raped me there,” said the woman.“I am here to express my support with the victim.
Womens’ rights and human rights in Tunisia in general are in danger. Instead of moving forward with our rights, we are defending the gains that we already have,” said Leila Ben Abdallah who participated in the protest.
Photo credit: Rabii Kalboussi“Even though the number of participaters is small, that does not mean that the cause is [small],” said Abedwaheb El Hani, a human rights activist.
Tunisian Minister of Human Rights and Transitional Justice Samir Dilou held a press conference September 25 in which he condemned the crime, especially given the fact that the accused are police officers.
“Raping a woman is a rape against Tunisia in general,” said Monia Abid, a woman who joined the protest.
The three police officers were arrested on September 8, according to a statement released by the Ministry of the Interior.
The two alleged rapists and the other, accused of holding down the women’s fiance while she was raped, are in jail awaiting trial.
The next hearing against the couple, for violation of public decency, was adjourned until next Tuesday.
Some activists have called for a demonstration outside of the court in Tunis on the next day of the trial, October 2.