An immigrant woman sewed her lips together as a protest: “in my country they are going to kill me”

A 34 year old Tunisian woman decided to sew her lips together to protest against the decision by the Italian authorities, to refuse her request for political asylum. The woman had also begun a fast. In Tunisia she had been repudiated by her family because she became pregnant without being married. Her brother threatened her with a knife and promised to kill her if she returned. Moreover, her brother-in-law, an Islamist condemned for murder, tried to force her to wear the veil. The woman fled to Libya and arrived in Italy in 2006 on a dinghy. She worked as a carer in different parts of the country. However, in 2009 she was arrested because her employer had ended up in handcuffs for drug offences. She was finally acquitted but was placed in a centre in Bologna for illegal immigrants, while waiting to be deported. The problem, claimed her lawyers, is that there is a legal prohibition of any deportation that places the person in risk of their life in their home countries. They were, therefore, going to lodge two appeals: one against the expulsion and the other against the refusal of political asylum by the Italian state. In the meantime, the woman was released from the centre. She doesn’t have to return to her country any more and her lawyers are going to appeal for international protection in order to prevent a permanent return to Tunisia.