A lawyer claiming to represent Tunisian topless protester Amina Tyler says she is safe and well and with her family.
Bouchra Bel Haj Hmida, who is also a well-known woman's rights activist, spoke amid conflicting reports on the Femen activist’s whereabouts.
Following threats to stone Amina to death for posting topless pictures of herself online, Femen representatives said they had lost contact with 19-year-old and feared for her life.
One of the pictures posted on the Femen Tunisia site
Femen leader Inna Shevchenko last week told The Atlantic she had received reports that Amina had been “delivered by her parents to a psychiatric hospital in Tunis.”
Shevchenko also said she had been alerted to a video in which Amina’s aunt claimed her niece had “decided to kill herself and so posted nude pictures of herself online.”
On Tuesday Hmida told AFP: “I spoke to her yesterday, Amina told me she was doing well and would be going back to school soon.”
Huffington Post UK put the latest developments to Shevchenko who told us: “Rumors about Amina's case are coming out everyday.
“Since the day I lost connection with Amina we [have] got information from strangers that Amina is safe, in hospital, being raped in the street, with her family, having beer in a bar, that she has been arrested. But still no sound from Amina.
Femen leader Inna Shevchenko pictured protesting on St Peter's square at the Vatican in January
“I don't know too much about Amina, and less about her family, and I never heard anything about any lawyer.
“But I clearly remember our conversation with Amina about [the] reaction of her family, that was strongly negative. So that’s why Amina was staying at a friend's house for safety after posting the picture.
“We see that the family is trying to share news that Amina is safe and [that they] don't want any support campaign. The woman who calls herself [her] aunt claims that Amina has mental problems and that’s why she posted the picture. The lawyer is representing the interests of the family, but not Amina's.
“We still didn't hear [the] voice of Amina and didn't see her face. Until the moment we hear word of Amina about her safety we are searching for her and continuing our international bare breasts support.
“Amina's example is the voice of Arab spring that turned as cold Sharia’s winter. [An] Arab spring that can come back. Amina represents those who are going to break anti-human traditions that come from the Middle Ages but still are practiced today. For them it's easier to kill a woman then to agree that she has rights. “
The storm erupted when Amina posted a photograph of herself with the words "Fuck your morals" written across her chest, to the Femen-Tunisia Facebook page.
Another image showing her smoking a cigarette with: "My body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone's honour", written in Arabic script across her bare chest, was also posted.
Tunisian newspaper Kapitalis quoted the Wahabi Salafi preacher Almi Adel, who heads the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, saying: "The young lady should be punished according to sharia, with 80 to 100 lashes, but [because of] the severity of the act she has committed, she deserves be stoned to death.
"Her act could bring about an epidemic. It could be contagious and give ideas to other women. It is therefore necessary to isolate [the incident]. I wish her to be healed."
If she committed the offence in Tunisia, Amina could be punished by up to two years in prison and a fine of 100 to 1,000 dinars [between £40 and £400], local media said.
On March 16, Amina appeared on the popular Tunisian talk show 'Labes' to discuss her desire to bring Femen to Tunisia, Jezebel revealed. (Scroll down for video)
Twitter user Saida Manoubia points out the programme host suggests committing Amina to an institution during the interview.
The first picture posted of activist 'Amina'
Hundreds of women have since submitted topless pictures of themselves to the Femen Facebook page supporting Amina. The organisation has had to blur the nipples of the women featured to comply with Facebook rules on nudity.
A petition and an international day of action on April 4 to highlight the threats against Amina have been organised by activists.
More than 94,000 people have signed a petition calling for those who have threatened Amina's life to be prosecuted.
An open letter calling for an International Day to Defend Amina has been signed by many feminist and atheist activists, including atheist Richard Dawkins.
The letter says: "On the day and beyond, groups and individuals can join in by highlighting her case, posting topless photos of themselves and their activism on social media sites, signing a petition, Tweeting #Amina, writing letters in her defence, and more.
A message of support posted on the Femen Facebook page
"On 4 April, we will remind the Islamists and the world that the real epidemic and disaster that must be challenged is misogyny - Islamic or otherwise."
Social media accounts of the Tunisian branch of Femen have been reportedly infiltrated by hackers, with videos and pictures on the site being replaced by verses from the Koran.
According to International Business Times, the accounts have now been suspended.
One message read: "The page has been hacked and God willing, this debauchery will disappear from Tunisia."
Femen said in a statement they were furious about the "barbarian threats of the Islamists about the necessity of reprisals against the Tunisian activist Amina," .
"We are afraid for her life and we call on women to fight for their freedom against religious atrocities.
"Use your body as a poster for the slogans of freedom. Bare breasts against Islamism."
Femen was founded in 2008 in Ukraine. It claims to be active in 17 countries and to have more than 150,000 supporters.
FEMEN PROTEST PHOTOS (WARNING: NSFW)
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