A 19-year-old Tunisian women’s rights activist, known only as Amina, has come under fire for posting a topless photograph of herself online. Amina is a member of FEMEN, a Ukranian radical feminist group notorious for their topless protests. Weeks ago, Amina uploaded a picture of herself to a website she started for the group in Tunisia, with ”My Body is My Own and Not the Source of Anyone’s Honor” written across her bare chest.
Late last week, the Paris-based head of the group, Inna Shevchenko, claimed that Amina had been committed to a psychiatric ward by her family members. Shevchenko told the Atlantic that she last heard from Amina on 18 March. Her disappearance came after a 16 March appearance on Tunisian talkshow Labes to talk about her controversial photographs. However, her lawyer Bouchra Bel Haj Hmida, told Tunisia live that she is not missing, and denied allegations that Amina has been sent to a psychiatric facility.
While no legal charges have been brought against Amina, Salafi preacher Adel Almi said days before her disappearance that she should be punished with 80-100 lashes, and called for her to be stoned to death. According to Bel Haj Hmida, Amina could face up to six months of jail-time if charged with public indecency.
Women from across the globe have posted photographs of themselves topless online, with messages of support for Amina scrawled across their bodies. A petition for her release has now garnered over 84,000 signatures.
Secular activist Maryam Namazie has called for 4 April to be declared International Day to Defend Amina, in order to “remind the Islamists and the world that the real epidemic and disaster that must be challenged is misogyny — Islamic or otherwise.”
Sara Yasin is an Editorial Assistant at Index. She tweets from @missyasin