Gisèle Halimi, a lawyer and feminist, died at the age of 93

Gisèle Halimi, a lawyer, feminist activist and Franco-Tunisian politician, died on Tuesday at the age of 93, her family announced the same day. She had fought all her life to defend women and especially the right to abortion.

Lawyer and former Member of Parliament Gisèle Halimi, who dedicated her life to the cause of women and the right to abortion, died on Tuesday, July 28, the day after her 93e birthday, his family announced.

“She died in peace, in Paris,” one of her three sons, Emmanuel Faux, told AFP, judging that his mother had “had a good life.” “Her family is around her,” Faux added. “She was struggling to reach her 93rd birthday.”

Coming from a modest family, Gisèle Halimi was born on July 27, 1927 in La Goulette, Tunisia. A committed lawyer, she became particularly famous during the emblematic trial of Bobigny in 1972, in which she defended a minor attempted to have aborted after rape.

“Injustice is physically unbearable for me”

A doctorate in law and philosophy in Paris, a student in Sciences-Po, the young woman enrolled in the Tunis bar in 1949 and defended Tunisian trade unions and separatists.

This is the first part of her professional career that continued in Paris and Algeria where she became one of the most important lawyers for the activists of the National Liberation Front (FLN).

She denies the use of torture by the French soldiers, which will result in her being arrested and sentenced to short-term imprisonment. “Injustice is physically unbearable to me,” she often said. “My whole life can be summed up in this. It all started with the Arabs being despised, then the Jew, then colonized, then the woman,” she added to JDD in 1988.

In 1971, she co-founded “Choose the Cause of Women” (or, in short, “Choose” or “The Cause of Women”) with Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Rostand in particular. A friend of Jean-Paul Sartre, she took over the chairmanship of this association after the death of Simone de Beauvoir (1986).

She is one of the signatories of the resounding manifesto of 343 women who publicly declared to have had an abortion (1971).

Bobigny trial

The following year, she defended Marie-Claire Chevalier, a minor accused of having an abortion after a rape, at Bobigny Criminal Court.

At the time of this emblematic trial, the public discovers this woman with the always impeccable appearance who makes a set of literary and scientific personalities who came to condemn a trial from another age.

She receives the release of the young woman and manages to mobilize opinions and paved the way for the decriminalization of abortion, in early 1975, with the Veilagen.

Political career

Elected Member of Parliament for Isère (related to PS) in 1981, she continued her struggle in the Assembly, this time for the repayment of voluntary termination of pregnancy (IVG), finally voting in 1982. Before distancing herself from the Socialist Party after her election to the Assembly.

In 1998, she was part of the team that created Attac (Association for Taxation of Financial Transactions and for Citizen Actions).

In 1995, she took over the chairmanship, especially the former Socialist Minister of Justice Robert Badinter, from the French Support Committee for Sarah Balabagan, a young Filipino servant sentenced to death in the United Arab Emirates for the murder of her employer who abused her. ‘she.

Subsequently, she will often intervene to worry about the closure of several abortion centers in the Paris region (2009), condemning the “improper” media return of Dominique Strauss-Kahn (2011) – following the abandonment of the American legal system against him in the Sofitel case – or defend the criminalization of prostitute clients (2011).

Literary career

Along with her career as a lawyer, she continued a career as a writer. Among her fifteen titles are “Djamila Boupacha” (1962), named after an emblematic activist by FLN, and a more intimate work such as “Fritna”, on her dishonest mother (1999), “completely ignorant Jewish practitioner”.

The mother of three boys, including Serge Halimi, editor-in-chief of Le Monde diplomatique, tricked her into wanting a daughter to “test” her feminist commitment. “I would have liked to know if, by raising her, I would adapt to exactly what I claimed, both for myself and for all women,” she told Le Monde in 2011.

In a lengthy interview with Le Monde newspaper in September 2019, the nonagenarian was still surprised that “the injustices against women do not cause a general uprising”.

With AFP