12 January 2011

Alert

Censorship continues as more journalists are arrested


Incident details

Arrest

Nissar Ben Hassen, Journalist
Wissem Essghaier, Student

Questioning

Moez Jemai, Journalist

Release

Hamadi Kaloutcha, Blogger
Slah Eddine Kchouk, Web dissident
El Général (Hamada Ben Aoun), Artist

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(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has learned that journalist Nissar Ben Hassen of Radio Kalima was arrested on 10 January 2010 after posting online video footage of events in Chebba, 65 km north of the city of Sfax ( http://www.facebook.com/sihem.bensedrine# !/video/video.php?v=1759035945488&comments ). He was editing another video on the violence in Mahdia at the time of his arrest.

Members of a special presidential unit arrested him shortly after midday at his home in Chebba. It is not known where they took him. Police meanwhile continue to ring the offices of the Tunisian journalists' union and the newspaper "Al-Maouqif" in Tunis.

Moez Jemai, Radio Kalima's correspondent in Gabes (400 km south of Tunis), was arrested by four plainclothes policemen on 6 January. He was sprayed with a disabling gas, pushed into an unmarked car and driven to the interior ministry in Tunis, where he was mistreated during interrogation about his coverage of recent events in Sidi Bouzid. He was freed in Tunis on the evening of 8 January.

Wissem Essghaier, a student and active member of the youth section of the Progressive Democratic Party, who also works for the party newspaper "Al-Maouqif", was arrested on 7 January near the party's headquarters while waiting to meet a foreign journalist.

Reporters Without Boundaries has also learned that two netizens detained on 6 January, Hamadi Kaloutcha and Slah Eddine Kchouk, were freed on 8 and 9 January respectively. The rapper El General has also been released.

But Reporters Without Borders is still without news of Slim Amamou and Azyz Ammami. They may be taken before the judicial authorities in the coming days. They have not been able to see a lawyer since their arrest on 6 January.

Ammar Amroussia, the correspondent of the banned daily "Al-Badil" and its website ( http://www.albadil.org ), is still in jail in Gafsa (400 km south of Tunis). Arrested on 29 December 2010, he is facing up to 20 years in prison on charges under articles 42, 44 and 49 of the press code, articles 121, 131, 132, 220b, 315 and 316 of the criminal code and article 26 of a 1969 law on public meetings, processions, exhibitions, demonstrations and gatherings. He covered the events at Sidi Bouzid for "Al-Badil" and took part in many demonstrations in Gafsa, accusing the authorities of corruption and urging his compatriots to combat the "dictatorship".


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