Tunisia policemen jailed for rape of 'Meriem'

Tunisian activists hold placards during a demonstration against violence against women outside a court in Tunis  hearing the trial of two Tunisian policemen accuse of raping a young woman. 31 March 2014 Activists protested against violence against women outside the courthouse in Tunis on Monday

Related Stories

Two Tunisian policemen have been sentenced to seven years in prison for raping a young woman in a case that has triggered angry protests.

The woman, known as Meriem Ben Mohamed, said she was attacked after officers stopped her in a car with her fiance.

The policemen denied the charges, saying they found the couple in an "immoral position".

Attempts to charge the couple with indecency led to public outcry.

Tunisia's President Moncef Marzouki offered a state apology to the woman, who was 27 at the time of the attack.

Hundreds of people have gathered outside a series of court hearings in Tunis to voice their support for her.

The case comes amid renewed focus on women's rights following the 2011 uprising that toppled long-time ruler Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali from power.

'They insult me'

The two policemen were convicted after being accused of raping the woman in a police car.

A third officer tried to extort money from her fiance at a bank cash machine, according to reports. He was given a two-year prison sentence.

The woman is said to have broken down in court on Monday after the policemen claimed she had tried to seduce them.

Lawyers for Meriem Ben Mohamed told reporters they were disappointed with the verdicts, saying they were too lenient.

BBC map showing Tunis in Tunisia

Meriem emerged from the courtroom crying on Monday afternoon, saying: "When I demand justice, they insult me", according to AFP.

Tunisia's public prosecutor had earlier tried unsuccessfully to bring indecency charges against Meriem and her fiance, sparking a storm of protest.

Activists outside the courtroom on Monday held placards saying: "Stand up for Meriem, stand up for Tunisian women".

A psychologist's report, seen by AFP, said the ordeal had caused Meriem to suffer "depression aggravating a state of post-traumatic stress".

Secular Tunisians, especially women, are worried about the growing influence of ultra-conservative Islamists since the uprising.

Following a tense campaign, the country's new constitution includes a clause guaranteeing gender equality in legislative assemblies and puts a burden on the state to protect women against violence.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Africa stories



  • FridgeCool customer

    The village that has just got its first fridge

  • Lincoln Perkins (in the middle of the image) carried Churchill's coffin with seven other menNear miss

    How pallbearers almost dropped Churchill's coffin

  • Josef Mengele in SS uniformThe twins of Auschwitz

    How a Nazi doctor experimented on identical siblings

  • Alok'Red market'

    The desperate patients in India turning to illegal blood donors

  • Bank House, 27 King Street, LeedsIn pictures

    Some of the office buildings new to the National Heritage List

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.