See also:
» 27.02.2011 - 84-year-old is new PM in Tunisia
» 18.01.2011 - Little faith in Tunisian opposition
» 01.12.2010 - Secrete prisons and torture revealed in Tunisia
» 05.01.2010 - Tunisia to speed up privatisation to stimulate economy
» 24.11.2009 - Africa’s think-tank discuss response to global financial crisis
» 26.10.2009 - Ben Ali gets fifth term in presidency
» 19.06.2009 - Tunisia dismiss fears of inmates’ mistreatment
» 12.06.2009 - Tunisia sign currency guarantee agreement with WB

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Tunisia journalists cry foul

afrol News, 6 December - Tunisian journalists are crying foul over the conviction of their colleague, Slim Boukhdhir, who was found guilty of multiple counts by a district court of Sakiet Ezzit.

After he was found guilty of multiple charges, including "insulting an official in the exercise of his duty," Boukhdir was sentenced to a year in prison. He was also punished for breaching the accepted standards of good behaviour and refusal to produce identity papers to the police.

He was fined 5 Tunisian dinar [equivalent to 3 euros].

Despite raising several breaches of procedure and contradictions in the police statement by Slim's lawyers, the trial judge, Hatem Warda, found him culpable.

Boukhdhir was arrested by the police on 26 November while on his way to recover his passport at a police station in Khaznadar, a suburb of the capital Tunis. In early November, Boukhdhir observed a 15-day hunger strike in response to be issued a passport by the police.

A local media rights watchdog, Observatory for the Freedom of Press, Publishing and Creation in Tunisia (OLPEC), said the conviction was not in line with the principles of fair trial.

"The trial constitutes a conspiracy to punish Boukhdhir for his articles on corruption published recently in the international press in which he implicated close relations of Ben Ali," OLPEC believed, adding that the "punishment" is also meant to deprive him of his passport.

"The court has violated the obligation of neutrality by approving the police statement without taking into account the contradictions it contained. If Boukhdir's only infraction was refusing to present his identity card, the sanction by law

is a 5 dinar fine (3 euros), and consequently nothing justified his arrest. OLPEC denounces this inequitable trial that is against freedom of the press in Tunisia and calls for the unconditional release of the journalist."

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