• France edition
 
French feminists face Tunis appeals trial delay
One of three European members of Femen given a four-month jail term in Tunis, Tunisia on June 12th for this protest on May 29th. Photo: Fethi Belaid/AFP

French feminists face Tunis appeals trial delay

Published: 22 Jun 2013 10:11 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 Jun 2013 10:11 GMT+02:00

Souhaib Bahri said the judiciary had failed to allow the necessary 10 days to elapse that gave Islamist groups the chance to appeal against the rejection of their request to participate as a civil party at the original trial on June 12th.

"Because the delay only expired today, the judge had no other choice (than to adjourn the trial) to give the associations time to appeal," Bahri said, adding that it was the public prosecutor's fault.

The defence team for the three women, two French and one German, requested that the defendants be released on parole, despite their sentencing on June 12th to four months in jail for indecency and an attack on public morals.

Bahri said he expected the judge to announce his decision on that, and to fix the date for the next appeal hearing later on Friday.

The defendants, appearing in court earlier dressed in the traditional Tunisian veil, or safsari, again defended their actions when given the chance to speak.

"Our objective was not to break Tunisian law or to attack public morals, but just to support Amina," said German activist Josephine Markmann.

The Frenchwomen are Margaret Stern and Pauline Hillier.

The three were arrested on May 29 for staging their controversial demonstration outside the central courthouse in Tunis in support of Amina Sboui, a detained Tunisian  activist from the same radical women's group.

Sboui was arrested for painting the word "Femen" on a wall near a cemetery in the central city Kairouan last month, in protest against a planned gathering of radical Salafists.

She remains in custody while a judge rules on whether she should face charges of indecency and desecrating a cemetery, which respectively carry possible jail terms of six months and two years.

The lawyer for the European women had been hopeful of a verdict being delivered o Friday, on the grounds that the appeals hearing was granted just nine days after their conviction, rather than the normal delay of four to six months.

But lawyers for the Islamist groups blamed "foreign pressures" for the fact that the appeals process had been accelerated, claims the public prosecutor rejected.

"There has been no pressure on the judiciary. We accelerated (the process) to give an example to the foreigners present of the quality and advanced state of the Tunisian judiciary," he said.

The four-month jail terms handed down to the defendants have been criticised in Europe, where the case is seen by some as a test of democratic freedoms under Tunisia's Islamist-led government which came to power after the revolution of January 2011.

France, Germany and the European Union all expressed regret at the severity of the sentences.

But Islamists in the conservative Muslim nation were angered by topless protest, with some calling for the activists to be given harsher sentences.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Profile
French suicide: 'Racist' author taps into malaise
A French right-wing author's new book is selling lots and lots of copies, but why? Photo: Pierre Verdy/AFP

French suicide: 'Racist' author taps into malaise

A controversial new book by French polemicist Eric Zemmour is flying off the shelves and shows no sign of stopping. The notorious right-wing writer and polemicist appears to have struck a chord with a French public feeling disillusioned and "lost". READ  

'We need to tell migrants the UK is not El Dorado'
UK Ambassador to France Sir Peter Ricketts with Queen Elizabeth at a garden party in Paris this summer. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP

'We need to tell migrants the UK is not El Dorado'

The UK Ambassador to France Sir Peter Ricketts has weighed into the ongoing Calais migrants crisis by saying “Migrants need to be told that Britain is not El Dorado." READ  

CEO's plane crash due to 'criminal negligence'
Images taken from a 3D video reconstruction of the plane crash by Russian media Life News.

CEO's plane crash due to 'criminal negligence'

The Moscow air crash that killed Total's CEO Christophe de Margerie was caused by "criminal negligence" on the part of senior airport officials, Russian investigators said on Tuesday. Initial reports said the driver of a snow plough that collided with the plane had been drunk. READ  

France's Socialist rebels refuse to back budget
Rebels in France's Socialist Party have refused to back the government's 2015 budget in a parliamentary vote. Photo: AFP

France's Socialist rebels refuse to back budget

A group of rebels in France’s ruling Socialist Party flexed their muscles on Tuesday by refusing to back the government’s 2015 budget in a parliamentary vote. It's another sign of a growing split in President François Hollande's party. READ  

French docs develop 'high speed' Ebola test
French doctors say they have created a Photo: Pascal Guyot/AFP

French docs develop 'high speed' Ebola test

As fears over Ebola continue to grow, French researchers announced on Tuesday they have developed a simple test that could detect the deadly disease in 15 minutes. READ  

How France could make learning French easier
How learning French could be so much easier. Photo: Shutterstock

How France could make learning French easier

Let's imagine for a moment France decided to make learning French easier for Anglos in a bid to get more people speaking their language. What could the language guardians at the Académie Français do to make it simpler for us? Here's ten ideas. READ  

Movie monster 'Alien Queen' moves to France
The "Queen Alien" from US movie series is shown with the Frenchman who rescued her from ruin. Photo: Philippe Merle/AFP

Movie monster 'Alien Queen' moves to France

The alien queen at the heart of the American "Alien" film saga was forgotten until being rescued by a Frenchman who restored her to all her terrifying glory. Her faithful followers are now flocking to see her in a museum in Lyon. READ  

Profile - Christophe de Margerie
Total's 'Big Moustache': Not your average oil exec
France's Christophe de Margerie, the CEO of Total, was not your average oil executive. Photo: Carl Court/AFP

Total's 'Big Moustache': Not your average oil exec

Christophe de Margerie, the French CEO of Total, who was killed in a freak plane crash in Moscow on Tuesday, stood out among top executives for his love of a joke, his big bushy moustache and the fact he spent his whole career at one company. READ  

France and Germany to draw up growth plan
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble (L) and French Finance Minister Michel Sapin address a joint press conference in Berlin. Photo: Tobias Schwarz/AFP

France and Germany to draw up growth plan

Although France didn't persuade Germany to invest €50 billion in the eurozone's flagging economy Paris and Berlin did agree to draw up an action plan for exactly what was needed to boost growth. READ  

Burglar caught sipping bubbly during break-in
A burglar in France popped the champagne cork too early and ended up being caught red handed. Photo: Shutterstock

Burglar caught sipping bubbly during break-in

A burglar in France was so happy after breaking into a house in France he decided to crack open the bubbly and turn on the TV. But then the owners returned home. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
International
How a giant 'sex toy' earned an American artist a slap in Paris
National
'Unlike in the US the French don't put the blame on the poor'
Gallery
Cover up and don't be too Latin: French travel warnings for the US
Society
Macholand: The online uprising against sexism in France
Gallery
In pictures: The daily life of the 2,000 migrants in Calais
Culture
Erotic promo video earns the Musée d'Orsay our "Only in France" award
International
'I love the UK, but I could die getting there': Struggles of Calais migrants
National
Seven reasons why everyone should work in a bar in France
National
The cost of expat home comforts: How France compares to Europe
International
Why don't Calais migrants stay in France? The Local went to find out
National
What are the pros and cons of working as an au pair in France?
Society
Is France's generous welfare state about to get a little stingier?
Gallery
Extraordinary images of ordinary life in the poor Paris suburbs
Gallery
10 things expats love and loathe about life in France
National
So why don't many women in France breastfeed?
National
'Stop bashing La Belle France' - French PM tells UK press
International
UK warns Brits of 'high threat' from terrorism' in France
National
VIDEO: 'The Kama Sutra is not a dirty little text'
National
What Rome could teach Paris and vice versa
Gallery
What do foreign countries warn their citizens about when visiting France?
Gallery
IN IMAGES: Eiffel Tower opens new glass floor above Paris
Society
Is it really better to grow old in the UK and the US rather than France?
Gallery
It's that time if the year again: French sportsmen reveal (almost) all
Gallery
So what do the French find really weird about Anglos?
Travel
Paris museums to open seven days a week but unions are not happy
Culture
Caption contest: What happened when Jay Z met Sark O?
International
This explains why the French never seem to get a sense of déjà vu?
National
VIDEO: Here's a view from the Eiffel Tower you haven't seen before
Travel
Do Paris's iconic rooftops deserve Unesco World Heritage status?
Opinion
'France cannot reform, the pilots' strike showed us this'
National
'We just don’t work hard enough in France.' Is that true?
International
France has moved to beef up security in various public places
National
Hiking naked in France does not come risk-free
Culture
10 French customs that confuse Anglos
National
IN PICTURES: A look inside France's 'most notorious' prison
International
Isis urges killing of 'spiteful, dirty' French
National
Paris installs new device to stop 'love lock' craze
National
Paris cabby dies in vicious high-heel attack
National
'Paris is a sexy city, its beauty is inspiring'
Culture
Depardieu: ‘I drink 14 bottles of booze a day’
National
Top French chefs want banned bird on menu
National
VIDEO: Making of French rugby hunk calendar
National
Ten great bars in Paris only locals know about
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

655
jobs available