21 July 2003


Journalist Abdallah Zouari sentenced to four months in prison

Incident details

Abdallah Zouari



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(RSF/IFEX) - On 18 July 2003, journalist Abdallah Zouari, who has already spent 11 years in prison, was sentenced to four months' imprisonment for "defamation" by a court in Zarzis in southeastern Tunisia. The sentence follows an incident in which Zouari complained about being barred from using a cybercafé. RSF has strongly protested the "trumped-up" sentence and demanded its immediate cancellation.

"Zouari has been constantly harassed and spied on for months," said RSF Secretary-General Robert Ménard. "The authorities have run out of things to accuse him of and have now come up with this excessive punishment on a ridiculous and bogus charge."

After being forbidden to go online at a cybercafé in Zarzis on 19 April, Zouari said he would call his lawyer to complain. The cybercafé's manager then filed a complaint against him for "defamation". He was tried on 11 July.

Zouari was released from prison on 6 June 2002, after serving 11 years for "belonging to an illegal organisation". Since then, he has been officially confined to Zarzis, even though some of his family members live in Tunis.

On 23 August 2002, the journalist, who worked for "Al Fajr", the unofficial voice of the Islamist An Nahda movement, was sentenced to eight months in prison by a Zarzis court for refusing to obey the restriction order by living in Tunis (see IFEX alerts of 7 November, 10 September, 26 and 22 August 2002).


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