Under European Pressure, Tunisia suspends Sentence of 3 Protesters who Bared Breasts

A Tunisian court has given suspended sentences to three European members of Femen (2 French, 1 German) who had bared their breasts in public to protest the jailing of a Tunisian woman who had made her statement in the same way. They had been found guilty of public indecency and sentenced to four months in jail, a verdict left unaltered by the suspended sentence.

Tunisia got enormous pressure from the European Union, France and Germany to let the women go. Those countries are major aid donors to the North African country. Germany said that Tunisia needed to change its laws regarding freedom of speech.

Uncharacteristically, the Femen members apologized for their half-nude protest and promised not to repeat it, drawing a condemnation from the Femen organization itself (which is based in Ukraine), saying that the three must have been put under severe duress. One member said she didn’t realize how shocking her act would be for the Tunisian public.

Tunisian Amina Tyler had protested by baring her breasts in the old Islamic center of Kairouan in May at a time when the Ansar al-Sharia radical terrorist group was forbidden from having its conference in that city. She is still in prison.

While it is true that public nudity contravenes community standards pretty severely in Tunisia, it is also true that the courts have been over reacting to dissent of various sorts. The Tunisian government recently sentenced rapper Weld15 to two years in prison for a music video he made attacking police brutality. He is appealing.

Femen members in Brussels protested the verdict against the Weld15 verdict by swarming the limousine of visiting Tunisian prime minister Ali Larayedh, who is from the ruling Ennahda or Renaissance Party (Muslim fundamentalist).

France24 English reports

And, VICE reports on Femen as an organization:

Posted in Tunisia | 6 Responses | Print |

6 Responses

  1. Dear Profesor Cole

    Quite clearly Mr Berlusconi set a Euopean precedent for clemency towards pretty girls with his intervention on behalf of President Mubarak’s niece.

    It is good to see these attitudes permeating the judiciary of all the Mediterranean states.

  2. Watching this video was like watching little kids playing with fire – a lot of fire. My impression, and it could be wrong, is that these women are out for notoriety/glamour and thrills. Wayne Madsen claims that they are ‘agents provocateur’. I don’t know but even if they aren’t I doubt they are doing their ’cause’ any good. In fact just the opposite.

    • Yes indeed, Monsieur Lafontaine, your “first impression” and put-down could very well be wrong. Congrats on packing a whole shipload of “conservative” sentiments into one tiny dinghy.

      Their ’cause’ seems to many people to be important and even to have a certain justice and honor behind it — My impression, from this tiny sample you’ve provided, and it could be wrong, is that in your world order women have a much more, ah, invisible and humble place.

      Given what’s shaking in the world right now, it seems (my impression, again), that there’s a kind of hunger for what used to be called “human rights” that seems to be gathering a little steam. Maybe there is some fundamental level of oppression and successful short-term accumulative greed beyond which symbolic gestures like these, and self-immolations, link to latimes.com, and initially orderly and peaceful gatherings of people doing that we-shall-overcome/kumbayah bit of empowerment and what pejoratively is called “protest,” which gatherings are then warped by agents provocateur or a nihilist/anarchist few and ramped up to violence by violent “government” and “militias” and “death squads” and driven into schism and divide-and-conquer-and-fail, like the dehiscence of old scars on a person sick with scurvy or some cancers.

      One of your fellow Franks, Delacroix, offered this image of the rising up of those simple aspirations: link to en.wikipedia.org Do you think the women of Femen have any education in the classics, or a sense of the power of that exposure that exposes the blunt idiocy of “conservative” hunkering?

      And there’s this:

      Fox commentator tells woman: ‘know your role’

      NEW YORK – A finger-pointing political argument on Fox News Channel boiled over when a male conservative talk show host shouted at a woman to “know your role and shut your mouth.”

      The man, Bill Cunningham, later asked Fox contributor Tamara Holder, “Are you going to cry?”

      Fox on-air personalities on Friday were talking about the exchange on Sean Hannity’s prime-time show the night before. Commentator Juan Williams concluded that Cunningham “obliterated the line” of civil discourse in his argument with Holder. The two had been brought on by Hannity to discuss whether Attorney General Eric Holder – no relation to Tamara – had committed perjury.

      Cunningham, sitting next to Tamara Holder in a New York studio, called her “one of the stooges of the left that will always be there to excuse away criminal behavior.” He said she had the “incurable fatal condition of liberalism that caused people like Eric Holder to be the consulary of Barack Hussein Obama.”

      He was jabbing a finger at Holder, who returned the favor.

      “I really hope that when you speak to a judge, you don’t point your finger in the person’s face the entire time,” she said. “Your finger does not make your point.”

      Cunningham is a former assistant attorney general in Ohio whose wife is on the Ohio Court of Appeals. He hosts radio and television talk shows.

      “Whose finger is in my face right now?” Cunningham asked.

      Replied Holder: “Mine, because I’m telling you to shut up.”

      “You shut up!” Cunningham said. “Know your role and shut your mouth.”…

      There’s a little more at link to tbo.com

      Ever heard of “Lysistrata?” link to en.wikipedia.org

      And please excuse me if I have misread your views and intent from my possibly incorrect interpretation of your comment. Too bad we can’t all pull on the same end of the rope, and recognize that we are all in this slowly rising-to-a-boil pot together, and that it ultimately does not matter which of us cooks through first and which gets heat-denaturated last.

      • Is it my imagination or was Messr. Lafontaine just called a frog? (Of course, the actual amphibian does jump out of the pot.)

        • Just your imagination, or whatever else is operating. “Frank” is not “frog,” any more than my personal eth, “Scoth-Irish-English,” is a biological slur.

          As to the frog jumping thing, Wiki, that most unreliable of resources, says it’s historically and on the science an open question, not an “of course.” link to en.wikipedia.org

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