Tunisian revolution icon Lina Ben Mhenni dies aged 36

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Messages of mourning and tribute have been flooding social media since the high-profile Tunisian activist passed away early on Monday

Jan 27, 2020

January 27, 2020

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Tunisian human rights activist Lina Ben Mhenni, who made her name during the 2011 uprising that ousted Ben Ali’s regime died on Monday aged 36 after a long illness.

Messages of mourning and tribute have been flooding social media since the high-profile Tunisian activist and blogger died in the early hours of Monday from a chronic disease.

She became an icon of the Jasmine Revolution, reporting day by day on the uprising that led to the overthrow of long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Her chronicles of the popular protests and violent police crackdown on demonstrators in English, French and Arabic were a vital source of information.

She was the first blogger to go to Sidi Bouzid after street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire on 17 December, 2010, triggering the Arab uprising, and travelled to disadvantaged cities in the country's interior to report on the first revolts.

For years, she openly stood up against Ben Ali like very few did. Through her blog “Tunisian Girl”, the cyber-dissident documented human rights abuses during the dictatorship using her real name. Her own father was a political prisoner, tortured under Ben Ali's regime.

After the revolution, Ben Mhenni continued to fight for human rights and freedoms, despite her illness. She took part in a number of demonstrations and trials on freedom of expression. In her final months, she had denounced the state of hospitals in the Tunisian capital. She also taught English at the University of Tunis.

“She was always out there. As a blogger, activist or a human being”, female rights activist Nawres Douzi told The National. “I’m still waiting for somebody to say Lina got very sick but she’s still alive”.

Updated: January 27, 2020 10:31 PM

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