Rape victim complains of new delay in Tunisia police trial

AFP – A woman who accused Tunisian policemen of raping her more than a year ago complained Monday that the trial has been repeatedly delayed, saying she cannot sleep at night.

The trial opened last year but has been bogged down by repeated delays.

“I can’t wait any longer. Why do they push [the trial] back every time? I don’t sleep at night. It’s causing me huge suffering,” the young woman, known by the pseudonym Meriem Ben Mohamed, told AFP.

Three police officers have been held in custody in connection with the case, two of them, Chawki Ben Ammar and Walid Feriani, on rape charges and the third on charges of extortion.

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

The prosecution claims 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 fiancé at a bank cashpoint.

The latest delay was caused by the absence of one of the policemen, Ben Ammar, because of poor health, lawyers for Ben Mohamed said after a brief closed hearing.

The case was adjourned until 13 February.

“The trial is a grave injustice for this young woman because she is forced to defend and to justify herself,” her lawyer, Martin Pradel, said after Monday’s adjournment.

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