Tunisian Woman Allegedly Raped by Police Faces Charges of Indecent Exposure | Arab Spring

A Tunisian protester holds a placard reading 'Congratulations Madame Hillary for this thief and rapist government' on September 28, 2012, in Tunis, during a meeting of support to a woman who was raped by two policemen. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

In Tunisia, the birthplace of the so-called “Arab Spring,” a woman is facing immorality charges after allegedly being raped by police officers.  The case has sparked outrage both in Tunisia and abroad.  At one demonstration, a woman held a sign reading (translated) “Congratulations Madame Hillary for this thief and rapist government.”

Amnesty International relates (all subsequent emphasis added)

The woman’s lawyers told Amnesty International that three policemen approached her and her fiancé while they were in a car in the capital Tunis on the night of 3 September 2012.

She later filed a complaint accusing two of the police officers of raping her inside the car while the third took her fiancé to a nearby ATM in an attempt to extort money from him.

After being arrested and charged with rape and extortion, the policemen alleged that they had found the couple in an “immoral position” in the car – a claim which was later repeated in a statement by Tunisia’s Ministry of Interior.

Though Tunisian law allegedly protects rape victims, Tunisians and members of the international community are demanding stricter enforcement.

Tunisian Woman Allegedly Raped by Police Faces Charges of Indecent Exposure | Arab Spring

The Tunisian lawyer of a girl raped by two policemen, Amna Zahrouni (C), speaks on September 28, 2012, in Tunis. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Amnesty International continues:

The woman and her fiancé, who prefer to remain anonymous, could be imprisoned for up to six months for “intentional indecent behaviour” stemming from claims – by the very same police officers charged with raping her

The couple deny the charges and their court hearing is due to resume on 2 October.

“At best, charging the victim of a rape by police officers instead of protecting her from intimidation and stigma highlights the deep flaws on Tunisian law and criminal justice system. At worst, it is an insidious attempt to discredit a rape victim and protect those she accused of raping her,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

Rape by security forcesoften used as a tool of repressionis a form of torture, and must be promptly and fully investigated and, if there is sufficient admissible evidence, prosecuted.”  [Emphasis added]

Tunisian Woman Allegedly Raped by Police Faces Charges of Indecent Exposure | Arab Spring

Tunisian human rights defender Zeineb Farhat speaks on September 28, 2012, in Tunis during a meeting of support for a woman who was allegedly raped by two policemen. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Not surprisingly, many are concerned the situation will prevent other victims from coming forward.

Since Tunisia’s government changed in 2011, the victim’s lawyer says there have been “many cases of sexual, moral, and financial harassment” in Tunisia.  Though the revolution was reportedly supposed to usher in a new era of freedom and democracy, many fear women’s rights will suffer as the influence of radical Islamists grows.

(H/T: Gateway Pundit)

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