Tunisian Slap That Triggered Arab Unrest 'Didn't Happen'

Family forgives policewoman for 'slap heard 'round the world'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2011 4:42 AM CDT
Manoubiyeh Bouazizi, the mother of Mohamed Bouazizi, said she had forgiven the policewoman.   (AP Photo/Giorgos Moutafis)
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(Newser) – The case against the Tunisian policewoman who inadvertently sparked a wave of protests across the Arab world has been dropped. Vegetable seller Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in protest after Fadia Hamdi allegedly slapped him in the face and confiscated his wares in December. President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali had Hamdi jailed in a futile attempt to stem the protests that followed the young man's death and eventually swept him from power.

Hamdi says she was a scapegoat, and what become known as the "slap heard around the Arab world" never happened, Reuters reports. "I'm innocent. I did not slap him," she told the court before the judge dismissed the case. Bouazizi's family said they decided to drop the complaint and forgive the policewoman to encourage tolerance in the new Tunisia. "I leave things in God's hands," his mother told reporters. "For me, it is enough that Mohamed's martyrdom has resulted in freedom and the fall of tyrants."

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