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Thursday, 20 February 2020

Tunisia police rape trial 'ordeal' resumes

AFP , Thursday 13 Feb 2014
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Views: 848

The trial of two Tunisian policemen on charges of raping a young woman in 2012 resumed behind closed doors on Thursday, after repeated delays described by the victim as an "ordeal."

"It's a case that touches on moral issues, we ask everyone present to leave the room," the judge said as the hearing began.

The victim, known by the pseudonym Meriem Ben Mohamed, told AFP she feared that the hearing, in which the policemen are to be questioned and the arguments for the defence submitted, would once again be delayed, as has happened several times since October.

"If only this ordeal would end," the young woman said.

A psychologist's report, commissioned by the court and seen by AFP, diagnosed the victim, who was 27 years old at the time, with "depression aggravating a state of post-traumatic stress".

"These difficulties can last for months or years after the rape," the report said.

In all, three police officers are on trial, two of them -- Chawki Ben Ammar and Walid Feriani -- on rape charges and a third on charges of extortion.

The policemen say they found the woman and her boyfriend having sex in their car in a Tunis suburb in September 2012.

According to the charges against them, they then took the woman to a police car, where two of them raped her, while the third policeman allegedly tried to extort money from her fiance at a bank cashpoint.

The public prosecutor tried unsuccessfully to bring indecency charges against the couple, sparking a storm of protest and a campaign of support for the young woman.

She has since published a book in France giving her account of what happened, entitled "Guilty of being raped".

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