- 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."
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.