Two Tunisian policemen have been convicted of raping a young woman and sentenced to seven years in prison in a case that has captured international attention.
Earlier in court the two policemen had denied the charge, instead accusing the woman of seeking to have sex with them, provoking an emotional outburst from the alleged victim.
“They denied everything,” Radhia Nasraoui, a lawyer of the young woman known by her pseudonym Meriem Ben Mohamed, told AFP.
One of the accused claimed instead that the young woman had tried to perform oral sex, Nasraoui added.
Koutheir Bouallegue, another of the victim’s lawyers, confirmed the policemen denied raping her.
After the verdict Nasraoui said she was “very disappointed” and thought it was too “lenient”.
Three police officers faced trial over the incident, which took place in September 2012, two of them accused of rape.
The defendants say they found the young woman and her boyfriend having sex in their car in a Tunis suburb.
According to the charges, they then took the woman to a police car, where two of them took turns to rape her, while the third policeman allegedly tried to extort money from her fiance at a bank cashpoint. He was given a two-year prison sentence, a judicial source told AFP.
The public prosecutor tried unsuccessfully to bring indecency charges against the couple, sparking a storm of protest and a campaign of support for Ben Mohamed, who was 27 when the incident took place.
Emna Zahrouni, another lawyer representing Ben Mohamed, said a member of the defence team emphasised during the hearing that the unmarried young woman regularly had sex, saying his claim was based on the forensic report.
“Their intention is to tell the court that she was not a virgin. They are attacking her character,” knowing that sex outside marriage is taboo, Zahrouni said.
“The only slur left (to the defence) is to call her a whore,” said Radhia Nasraoui.