5 Jun 2013

Tunisian FEMEN activist must be released

19-year-old Tunisian activist for the FEMEN network is facing further accusations after having been convicted and fined on Thursday for the possession of a self-defence spray.

Amina Sboui – who has also been known as Amina Tyler – was remanded in custody yesterday on accusations of desecrating a cemetery, belonging to a criminal organization and undermining public morals, offences which carry punishments of several years' imprisonment under the Tunisian Penal Code.
The charges she faces appear to stem from her having written the word "FEMEN" on a wall surrounding a cemetery in Kairouan on 19 May, the day when Ansar al Charia, a Salafist group that opposes equality for women, had called a rally for its supporters in the city.

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Amina Sboui was arrested outside the cemetery and charged with possession of a self-defence spray – for which she was convicted and fined 300 Tunisian dinars (about US$184).
She is due to be interrogated by the investigative judge on 5 June for the new accusations.
"Amina should be released from custody right away. She is being investigated for exercising her right to freedom of expression, and she should not be facing imprisonment for doing so," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

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