Topless Femen activists jailed 4 months in Tunisia


Topless activists from FEMEN protest in front of the Tunisian embassy in Madrid on June 12, 2013.



A judge in Tunisia sentenced three Femen activists to four months in jail on Wednesday for a topless protest in that country last month.

Tunisia Live first reported the sentence, a conviction on charges of “offending public decency and threatening public order.”

They told the judge exposing their breasts isn’t intended to titillate the population, but instead draw attention to serious social ills.

“I relish every opportunity to express my political views,” said Josephine Markmann, a German.

The others convicted are French, Marguerite Stern and Pauline Hillier.

They staged their demonstration outside the main Tunis courthouse May 29 in solidarity with a Tunisian woman, Amina Sboui. She posted topless photos of herself online, and is also facing trial.

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Written across her chest was “my body is my own.”

“Baring our breasts is not intended to cause sexual excitement but is a form of activism,” Stern said, according to Agence France-Presse.

Sboui, also known as Amina Tyler, is still awaiting her trial. Police arrested her March 16 on a different matter, painting “Femen” on a cemetery wall.

They charged her with offending public decency, “forming an accord” with Femen and desecrating a cemetery. Earlier, a judge fined her about $180 for carrying an incendiary object.

She’s also accused of carrying a “paralyzing gas,” thought to be mace for protection.

The trio’s French lawyers said they were not in Tunis because “rights of the defense are not guaranteed,” AFP reported.

“We are waiting for the clear and unconditional release of our three clients,” Patrick Klugman and Yvan Terel told AFP.

They said before the trial that if the activists were not freed on Wednesday, they would come “immediately to Tunis” to mobilize support.

French President Francois Hollande is expected to visit Tunisia next month.

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.

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