Protesters on Monday demanded the resignation of Tunisia’s minister for women’s affairs, Sihem Badi, accusing her of defending a children’s nursery where a three-year-old girl was raped.
The protesters, among them relatives of the victim, gathered outside the ministry in Tunis shouting slogans against Badi, including “Minister of shame, get out!” and “Ministers who protect pedophiles have no place among us.”
The young girl was raped repeatedly by the caretaker of the nursery in La Marsa, an upscale suburb of the capital, according to the police.
The suspect was arrested on Saturday.
On the same day, Badi, who as minister of families as well of women’s affairs is responsible for children’s nurseries, said a member of the girl’s family was to blame and that no measures against the caretaker were needed.
“Three weeks ago, my life turned into a nightmare. When I imagine my daughter, who weighs 10 kilos, in the hands -- and on several occasions -- of this 55-year-old caretaker, I have only one wish, to die,” the father of the victim told AFP.
“The children’s nursery is still open despite what happened to my daughter,” he added, his voice welling with emotion.
If found guilty, the suspect risks the death penalty, even though no executions have actually been carried out in Tunisia since 1991.
The last person to be put to death was a rapist and child serial killer.