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Tunisian prosecutor seeks new indecency charges against rape victim

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-12-03

Tunisia’s public prosecutor will appeal the dismissal of an indecency case against a woman who was allegedly raped by the two policemen who were witnesses against her, her lawyer said Monday. The incident sparked outrage in Tunisia and abroad.

The public prosecution in Tunisia has launched an appeal against last week's court ruling to drop an indecency case against a young woman who was allegedly raped by two policemen, her lawyer said on Monday.

"We just found out this morning that the prosecution has lodged an appeal," Bochra Belhaj Hmida told AFP. "It's their right, legally, there's nothing that can be said about that. But on the moral front..."

A Tunis judge last Thursday dropped the case against the woman, whose identity has been kept secret, while the two accused officers are to face rape charges and a third will face charges of extortion.

The 27-year-old woman faced possible indecency charges along with her fiancé based on the testimony of the alleged rapists, the policemen who say they took the couple by surprise in an "immoral position" just before the alleged attack.

A judicial source previously said that the police had taken the couple by surprise as they were having sex in their car.

Two of the officers then took the woman to a police car, where they raped her in turn, while a third tried to extort money from her fiancé at a bank cashpoint, the source added.

Last month a magistrate questioned the woman, allegedly raped on September 3, to decide whether she would be charged with indecency, which could carry a six-month prison sentence.

The case sparked a storm of protest in Tunisia, with NGOs, media and opposition figures saying the proceedings had transformed the victim into the accused and reflected the Islamist-led government's policy towards women.

Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, from the ruling Islamist party Ennahda, said in October that the policemen, arrested shortly after the incident, would be "severely judged".

But he also said there may be a case of indecency to answer.

However, President Moncef Marzouki in October offered a state apology to the woman.

Since the Islamists' rise to power after last year's revolution, feminist groups have accused the police of regularly harassing women, challenging them for their choice of clothing or if they are out at night unaccompanied by family members.

(AFP)

Date created : 2012-12-03

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