Tunisia Femen activist faces new charges, to be held

TUNIS (AFP) - The presiding judge in the trial of a young Tunisian woman with the topless protest group Femen said on Thursday that she will face fresh charges, including indecency, and ordered her to be remanded in custody.

The judge told Agence France-Presse that the young woman, who had been on trial for illegal possession of pepper spray, would be prosecuted for indecency and desecrating a cemetery, and that she would face a new hearing on June 5.

Mr Mokhtar Janene, the lawyer for Amina Sboui, confirmed an order had been issued for her to be detained.

The two sources both said that the accused, better known by her pseudonym Amina Tyler, is being prosecuted under the "criminal conspiracy" section of the penal code, where different articles carry possible jail terms ranging from six to 18 years.

She also risks six months in prison for indecency and two years for desecrating a cemetery.

No verdict has yet been announced on the earlier charge of illegally possessing pepper spray.

The young activist was arrested on May 19 after painting the word "Femen" on a wall near a cemetery in Tunisia's religious capital of Kairouan, 150km south of Tunis, where radical Salafists were planning to hold an illegal congress.

Sboui had sparked both scandal and a wave of online support in socially conservative Tunisia for posting topless pictures of herself on Facebook in March, reportedly incurring death threats from radical Islamists.