Tunisians Uneasy Over Implications of Lubna Hussein Arrest for Maghreb Region

Concerns about the trial of Lubna Ahmed Hussein have reached Tunisia, where students, journalists and ordinary citizens are alarmed that extremism is headed into the Maghreb.

“The case has turned into a public opinion case and has attracted more sympathizers, men and women alike, and women’s rights activists, especially because [Hussein] works as a journalist for the UN,” said Abdi.

According to Salah Zghidi, a founding member of the Association for the Defense of Secularism in Tunisia, the case confirms the “backwardness” that he said characterized “obscurantists” everywhere.

“It’s become necessary for people and the so-called international community to deal with backward regimes based on what they do to women in particular,” said Zghidi, adding: “I absolutely can’t accept that international human rights movements, international community bodies and the EU take lots of action when an opposition figure in this or that country is illegally arrested or tortured, while they turn a blind eye to the horrible daily acts of aggression committed against women.”

There are muted reports of disagreements in Lubna Hussein’s own legal team about the cause of her arrest. While Lubna casts her arrest as a women’s rights issue, one of her lawyers. Soumia Sandali, told Magharebia in a statement. “The case is fabricated and has nothing to do with women’s freedom issues. Rather, the real reason is Lubna’s work for the mission of the UN, which recently backed the trial of Sudan’s president in the International Criminal Court.”

Ms. Hussein needs to get her legal team in order here. We hope to get a confirming quote from her lawyer Soumia Sandali. Anne