Video: Runaway Tunisian FEMEN describes being held captive by family
Issued on: Modified:
Amina Tyler gained worldwide fame as the first Tunisian member of feminist organisation FEMEN after she posted topless photos of herself on Facebook. This quickly earned her death threats from Islamists, and for weeks, there was confusion about her whereabouts: some reports said she had been forcibly committed to a psychiatric hospital; others that she was just laying low at her family’s home; yet others cited relatives saying that she regretted what she had done and wanted to be left alone.
It turns out that none of this is true. In a Skype conversation recorded with a FEMEN leader, Tyler explains that members of her family in fact abducted and detained her. She says she managed to run away and is now in a safe location.
In this video, Tyler describes being abducted by her cousin and her uncle from a café where she had met up with friends in downtown Tunis. (She suspects these friends set her up). She says they took her to her aunt’s house and broke her phone’s SIM card; she tried to protect herself by using pepper spray but they managed to stop her, and beat her. Later, she says, she was taken to her grandmother’s house, where numerous family members, including her parents, had gathered to give her “moral lessons” and force her to read the Koran; she describes how two elderly female relatives examined her to see if she was a virgin.
Later, she was taken to a village outside Tunis, where she said her relatives drugged her to try to stop her repeated attempts to run away. She explains that what she said in an interview given during this time, in which she denounced some of FEMEN’s actions, was not her true opinion, and that she was forced to say these things. Tyler says that she is now hiding from her family, that she is not in Tunis but still in Tunisia, and that she regrets nothing.
Tyler’s mother was quoted as saying that her daughter had been missing from home since Friday. She denied that the family had abducted her: “There has never been any kidnapping. We are just trying to protect our daughter by refusing to let her go out on her own for the sake of her security.”