Héla, a trans girl from Tunisia, was on her way home after a fun night out with friends when the police stopped her car and arrested her – just for being transgender.
They insulted, beat, and tortured her – and because Héla stood up for her rights, they started a prosecution against her. A transphobic judge convicted Héla of "indecency" and sentenced her to four months in a men's jail, exposing her to even more violence and abuse.
Hèla was sentenced to four months in a horrible men’s jail for being trans. Will you help #FreeHèla? https://t.co/XglnYC01VD @Shams_Tunisie pic.twitter.com/EXTHe60Opb— All Out (@AllOut) 8 February 2017
Together with our partner organization Shams, All Out launched a global outcry asking Tunisia's Prime Minister to free Héla immediately and unconditionally. Tens of thousands of people signed our petition, which was shared almost 10,000 times on Facebook and Twitter:
هيلا هي فتاة متحولة جندريا في سجن الرجال في #تونس. تحتاج منا إلى توقيع على هذه العريضة. #FreeHela:https://t.co/wKykwNgSc8— MyKali Magazine (@mykali_mag) 8 February 2017
A few weeks later, the Tunisian Appeals Chamber ordered Héla's provisional release and the review of her trial. With the deadline for her case getting close, we put out another urgent call to our members asking them to keep sharing and signing our outcry:
The girl arrested for being #trans in Tunisia is FREE - but it isn't over. Help #FreeHèla: https://t.co/XglnYC01VD @Shams_Tunisie pic.twitter.com/UJxJR0JEbs— All Out (@AllOut) 10 February 2017
On February 23, the day of Héla's appeal hearing, we delivered more than 45,500 signatures to Tunisia's Prime Minister – and it worked! Despite requiring her to pay a fine, the Appeals Court decided to completely free Héla.
After her release, Héla sent this message:
"Thank you very much to All Out members who have been by my side to get me out of prison in a short time."
On September 17, 2018, Hèla was arrested again for "indecency" by transphobic police officers who insulted her before taking her to a men’s jail. She was held in a cell with 50 men found guilty of very serious crimes, including murder.
As soon as we heard about it, we reopened the campaign and All Out members raised again their voices in support of Héla.
We also delivered once again more than 49,000 signatures to Tunisia's Prime Minister – and it worked!
On September 21, the Court decided once again to completely free Hèla.