Lina Ben Mhenni, Tunisian blogger and human rights defender, has passed away at the age of 36 on January 27, 2020.
Ben Mhenni was critical of the dictatorship of Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, which lasted more than two decades, and traveled widely for her blog “A Tunisian Girl” to collect statements and photos of citizens across the country.
In 2011, she became a prominent figure outside her home country during the Arab Spring and reported on the very first protests against the Ben Ali government in January of that year. At a time when media freedom was restricted and the Internet was censored, her reporting helped publicize the authorities’ crackdown on protesters. After the revolution she continued to be an activist for human rights.
Continuously criticizing the Islamist Ennahdha party, which governed in a coalition with two other parties from late 2011 until early 2014.
Several times Ben Mhenni received death threats for her activism and criticism of the authorities and Islamists.
In 2011, Ben Mhenni won one of the categories of The Bobs, DW’s international online awards honoring journalists, artists and scientists who promote freedom of expression and human rights.
The 36-year-old Lina Ben Mhenni died of a chronic kidney disease. She received a transplant in 2007 and was an ardent advocate for organ donation.