Tunisia: Jailed Netizen Denied Eid Pardon

10 August 2013

By Afef Abrougui

Tunisian Twitter users expressed their disappointment when they learned that jailed netizen Jabeur Mejri, was not going to benefit from a recent presidential pardon issued on the occasion of Eid. Last year, Mejri was sentenced to seven and half years in prison over the publication of Prophet Muhammad cartoons on Facebook. His friend Ghazi Beji, who published a satirical book called the ‘Illusion of Islam’ on the document-sharing website Scribd also received the same severe sentence in absentia. Beji had fled Tunisia to escape prosecution and obtained political asylum in France. They were found guilty of ‘publishing material liable to cause harm to public order or good morals’, ‘insulting others through public communication networks’ and ‘assaulting public morals’.

Last April, Mejri’s verdict was confirmed by the Cassation Court (the highest court of appeal in Tunisia). His defense team decided to seek a presidential pardon. However, Mejri was not included in the list of the pardoned prisoners issued on August 8.

Photo via Facebook Page ‘Pour la grâce présidentielle de Jabeur et Ghazi’

Photo via Facebook Page ‘Pour la grâce présidentielle de Jabeur et Ghazi’

The committee in support of Mejri and Beji released a statement [fr]:

La présidence a annoncé une grâce présidentielle pour une liste de 343 prisonniers ainsi qu’une grâce spéciale de 20 autres prisonniers mais le nom de Jabeur Mejri ne figure pas sur aucune de ces listes.

Nous avons espéré que le président se rappellerait que lui même, un jour a été à la place de Jabeur Mejri et refuserait de voir des prisonniers d’opinion, durant son mandat mais … malgré les promesses qui ont été faites à demi mots à sa famille, le résultat est là : Jabeur reste en prison !

Jabeur Mejri ne passera pas l’Aid avec les siens ! Même si Jabeur n’est ni un terroriste, ni un violeur, ni un criminel ! Jabeur est un jeune qui a cru en une Tunisie nouvelle et a cru avoir le droit de s’exprimer librement !

Jabeur Mejri n’aurait jamais du être en prison! (…) Après un jugement inéquitable, il est accusé pour trouble à l’ordre public pour un message sur Facebook sur une page où il avait 16 fans !

 The president’s office issued a presidential pardon of 343 prisoners and a special pardon of 20 other prisoners. But, the name of Jabeur Mejri is not listed.

We had hoped that the President would remember that he some time ago was a prisoner of conscience like Jabeur Mejri. We had hoped that he [interim President Moncef Marzouki], would refuse to see prisoners of opinion during his mandate. But despite the promises made to his family, Mejri remains in prison.

Jabeur Mejri will not celebrate Eid with his family even though he is not a terrorist, a rapist or a criminal. Jabeur is a young man who had believed in a new Tunisia and thought he had the right to express himself freely.

Jabeur Mejri should never have been in prison! (…) Following an unfair trial, he was convicted of causing harm to public order over a message he published on his Facebook page and where he only had 16 fans!

‘Express yourself, Freedom’ via Amnesty Tunisia Facebook page

‘Express yourself,
Freedom’ via Amnesty Tunisia Facebook page

On Twitter: netizens expressed their dismay.

Plus de 300 detenus liberés aujourd hui et toujours derriere les barreaux pour ses opinions. N’oublions pas

More than 300 prisoners were freed today but Jabeur remains behind bars for his ideas. Let’s not forget this.

Sayeb @Moncef_Marzouki Jabeur n’est pas un danger public yè Marzouki

.@Moncef_Marzouki Free Jabeur, he is not a danger to the public.

Pendant que vous fetez el aid un jeune croupit dans une prison tunisienne parce qu’il a osé mettre en doute vos croyances

As you celebrate Eid, a young man rots in prison for daring to call into question your beliefs.

343 criminels libérés mais jaber est toujours en prison pour une caricature!

343 criminals freed but Jabeur remains in prison over a caricature!

@presidenceTN son crime ? Exprimer une idée ! Le prix 7.5 ans et demi de prison ! ce n est pas un terroriste lui

.@presidenceTN What’s his crime? Expressing an idea! The reward is seven and half years in prison. Jabeur is not a terrorist!
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Tunisia: Police Brutally Disperse Peaceful Protesters

Special coverage Feature

Tunisian police brutally dispersed protesters outside the headquarters of the Cabinet yesterday (July 15). The protesters were calling for reform and were planning to launch a third sit-in at Kasbah square, which is the epicenter of protests in the Tunisian capital Tunis.

Amongst the demands of the protesters were the departure of the Minister of Justice whom they consider unable to fulfill his duties and, “bring to justice the killers of the revolution martyrs”, and the Interior Minister, Hbib Essid, who held key ministerial positions during the regime of Ben Ali.

Police in Tunisia. Photo by Kissa online blogspot.

Police in Tunisia. Photo by Kissa online blogspot.

Protesters also raised slogans condemning the exclusion of youth from the decision making process, and calling for the independence of the judiciary.

Security forces used tear gas and batons to prevent the protesters from gathering and launching the sit-in. On Twitter, Tunisians continue to record and update people around the world of developments on the ground.

@walidsa3d:Police is trying to disperse protesters using tear gas #kasbah3

@tunisien:Unhappy Tunisians are trying to start a peaceful sit-in and the police welcomes them with violence. #Kasbah3

Security forces also stormed into a mosque and used batons to beat protesters taking refuge inside it.

@walidsa3dCops stormed into the Kasbah mosque and drove out protesters using batons #Kasbah3

@ByLasKo:Les flics ont forcé la porte de la mosquée, tabassé et expulsé les gens qui s’y étaient réfugiés #kasbah3

the cops pushed the door of the mosque, beat up protesters, and expelled the people taking refuge inside

The following YouTube video features protesters taking refuge inside a mosque near Kasbah Square, chanting “Faithful to Martyrs’ Blood”. Some of them got suffocated by tear gas.

Dozens of protesters were also arrested. A message to free all those arrested was published on the blog Kissa-online:

نطالب بنفس الصوت العالي إطلاق سراح كل المؤقوفين (يبدو أن عددهم 48) وخاصة منهم المدونين الفايسبوكر محمد شايح و شهيد بلحاج وأمان الله منصوري.

We are calling out loud for the immediate release of all those arrested (it seems that their number is 48), especially bloggers and Facebook users Mohamed Cheyeh, Shaheed Belhaj and Aman Allah Mansouri.

@wa_evolution:
الإفراج عن 26 من معتقلي القصبه, إحالة 20 على القضاء و تجنيد 35. #kasbah3 #kasba3 #tunisie #tunisia

26 of the arrested at Kasbah have been released, 20 to stand trial and 35 have been forced to join the army to do military service.

The brutal methods of the police in dealing with the protesters angered Tunisian bloggers and reminded them of the old methods of the former regime. Here are some of the reactions on Twitter.

@maroo_king: la #Kasbah3 n’était pas grand-chose (300 personnes) ! je suis pas d’acc avec ce sit-in mais je suis aussi contre la violence de la police !

#Kasbah3 was nothing (300 protesters)! I’m not supporting the sit-in, but I’m against violence exercised by the police.

@guellaty: Je crois que les policiers n’ont pas compris qu’on sortait d’un état policier.

I think that police officers have not yet understood that we are getting out of a police state. #Kasbah3

@Marwen:Sinon, je ne me reconnais pas dans la #Kasbah3, mais pour moi la pression de la rue est indispensable et les lacrymos n’ont aucune justif.

I’m not a supporter of #Kasbah3, but pressure of the street is necessary, and tear gas is not justified

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This post is part of a special coverage Tunisia Revolution 2011.

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Court date set for Tunisian FEMEN Amina Tyler on possession charges

Tunisia: FEMEN Activist Faces Possession of Pepper Spray Charge

25 May 2013

Tunisian FEMEN activist, known by the pseudonym Amina Tyler, 19, is set to appear before a court on May 30, to face a charge of possessing pepper spray. Amina made local and international news headlines last March, when she posted topless pictures of herself on Facebook.

http://globalvoicesonline.org/2013/05/25/tunisia-femen-activist-faces-possession-of-pepper-spray-charge/

Global Voices en Français Global Voices

Traduction Français:

Date de la Cour fixé pour tunisienne Amina FEMEN Tyler sur des accusations de possession

Tunisie : Une militante de FEMEN devant la justice pour possession d’un spray au poivre

25 May 2013

La militante tunisienne de FEMEN connue sous le pseudonyme d’Amina Tyler, 19 ans, est convoquée devant un tribunal le 30 mai, pour répondre de la possession d’un spray au poivre. Elle avait fait les grand titres locaux et internationaux en mars dernier, lorsqu’elle avait posté sur Facebook des photos d’elle-même, seins nus.

http://fr.globalvoicesonline.org/2013/05/25/147015/