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.

Novara: Woman is fined 500€ for wearing a burqa at the post office

In the first case of a fine for wearing a burqa in Italy. To be exact, the woman, a 26 years old Tunisian, was wearing a niqab, thus violating the recent bylaws of the Northern League’s mayor of Novara who justified the new rule for security reasons and to make clear that those who come respect the local traditions. The story of the fine started last autumn, when the mayor met casually a totally veiled woman on the street and called the police force to identify her. He then discovered what he perceives as a leak in the Italian legislative system that allows people to get away with covering fully. Therefore, he thought of launching a special bylaw. He maintains that, this measure applies also to those wearing helmets in public. However, the debate around burqa pays much more in political terms. The woman was stopped near the Post Office, but when the policemen asked her to unveil for identification, her husband strongly opposed for religious reasons. The traffic police intervened solving the situation offering the Tunisian woman to unveil in front of a woman traffic warden. The Tunisian woman was nevertheless fined. The problem raised by the case, as indicated by the writer, revolves around the autonomy of the woman: did she chose herself to wear the niqab or was forced by her husband? It wasn’t possible to find out as the husband was the only one speaking.