Tunis - Three European activists with radical women's protest group Femen were handed four-month jail sentences by a Tunisian court on Wednesday for staging a topless anti-Islamist demonstration last month, one of their lawyers said.
“The judge condemned the three Femen activists to four months and one day in prison for an attack on public morals and indecency,” Souheib Bahri told AFP.
After the verdict was made public, Femen's leader in Paris, Inna Shevchenko, vowed that her group would carry out further actions in Tunisia.
“It is a political decision that confirms the dictatorial character of Tunisia, which finds it easier to put girls in prison than recognise that women have the right to do what they want with their bodies,” she told AFP by telephone.
“We are really angry after this very severe verdict and we will pursue our actions in Tunisia. We are already prepared, we will grow, we will multiply. We will not stop,” she added.
The women's French lawyer, who had said he was ready to travel immediately to Tunis, expressed dismay and called the ruling an attack on freedom of expression.
“It's an extremely heavy sentence. It is a grave attack on freedom of expression, not just for these girls but for freedom of expression in general,” he said.
Margaret Stern and Pauline Hillier from France and Josephine Markmann from Germany were arrested on May 29 after staging a topless demonstration outside the main courthouse in Tunis. They were acting in support of Amina Sboui, a Tunisian activist with the same “sextremist” group who had been arrested 10 days earlier. - Sapa-AFP