Lina Ben Mhenni, 36, ‘a Tunisian Girl’ Who Confronted Regime, Dies

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The risks were clear. “Of course I had fear, but when I saw people killed by the police, I forgot it, and it gave me the strength to do my work,” she said in an interview with The New York Times in 2011.

Ms. Ben Mhenni remained a leading voice of protest against continuing corruption and suppression of civil liberties in her country. She spoke out on behalf of people who had been wounded during the uprising but were denied compensation as well as justice against the government perpetrators. She took strong positions against Islamists and those seeking a return to an authoritarian government. And she faced death threats, receiving police protection in 2013, the same year two leaders of leftist opposition parties, Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi, were assassinated.

In a Facebook post the night she died, Ms. Ben Mhenni criticized political leaders for not fulfilling the expectations of the people who had perished during the Arab Spring.

Hundreds of people flocked to her funeral procession on Tuesday, some chanting, “We will not forgive!” (a slogan of the anticorruption movement), “Equality for women!” and “Justice for the martyrs of the revolution!” Both men and women carried her coffin, a rare public mingling of the sexes in conservative Tunisia.

President Kais Saied offered condolences to her family. On Twitter, the prime minister-designate, Elyes Fakhfakh, called Ms. Ben Mhenni an “icon of civil activism.”

Lina Ben Mhenni was born on May 22, 1983, and raised in Tunis. Her parents, both of whom survive her, were from Djerba, on the country’s southeastern coast. Her father, Sadok Ben Mhenni, was a leftist opponent of the government of Habib Bourguiba, whom Mr. Ben Ali had deposed, and spent six years in prison because of his politics.

Her mother, Emna Ben Ghorbal, teaches Arabic. She donated a kidney to her daughter in 2007 as part of treatment for the autoimmune disease. In addition to her parents, a younger brother, Amine, survives her.



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