TUNIS, Oct 2, 2012 (AFP)
TUNIS, Oct 2, 2012 (AFP)
A young women allegedly raped by two policemen was questioned on Tuesday by a magistrate in Tunis who is to decide whether she is to be charged with indecency, an AFP journalist reported, in a case that has sparked outrage.
She arrived at the court just before 0900 GMT, wearing sunglasses and a black scarf, alongside her fiance, who faces the same accusation and who also covered his head to conceal his identity.
“The whole world supports me. I ask you for your support too,” the tearful women told AFP, just before entering the office of investigating magistrate Mohamed Ben Meftah with her lawyers.
The 27-year-old woman, who was allegedly raped on September 3, and her fiance are under investigation for “indecency,” a crime that carries a possible jail sentence of up to six months.
The alleged rapists say they took the couple by surprise in an “immoral position” just before the rape purportedly took place.
At the end of Tuesday’s hearing, the judge will decide whether or not to charge the couple, a judicial source told AFP on Tuesday.
“After the questioning and after having listened to the lawyers, the judge should dismiss the case of transfer it to the competent court,” the source explained, adding that the decision would not necessarily be on Tuesday.
The police did take the couple by surprise as they were having sex in their car, according to the same source.
Two of them then took the women to the police car, where they raped her, while a third restrained and tried to extort money from her fiance, the source added.
Last week, the couple came face to face with the police accused at a court hearing last week.
The three policemen, who were arrested shortly afterwards and are awaiting trial, face heavy sentences if found guilty, with rape at least in theory risking the death penalty in Tunisia.
In practice, no one has been executed for more than 20 years.
Several hundred protesters gathered outside the court early on Tuesday waving banners and placards and shouting slogans in support of the woman.
“Revolution raped, woman raped, young girl raped,” read one.
“Ministry of rape!” and “The people want an independent judiciary!” were some of the slogans shouted by the activists.
The case has sparked a storm of protest in Tunisia, with NGOs, media outlets and opposition figures charging that the proceedings have transformed the victim into the accused and reflect the Islamist-led government’s policy towards women.