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Twenty-two IFEX members call for end of persecution of human rights activist, journalist

(EOHR/IFEX) - The following is a joint statement by 22 IFEX members and one other organisation:

Call for freedom of movement for Tunisian activists and journalists

Mohammed Abbou, Tunisian lawyer and human rights activist, who was released from prison on 24 July 2007, was told that he is "banned from traveling" when he went to Tunis-Carthage airport to travel to London for an interview in Al-Jazeera's London studios for a programme on free expression and human rights. Abbou said there are no legal grounds for such a ban.

In another case, journalist Abdallah Zouari continues his extended internal exile for his former work with "al Fajr", the official newspaper of the Islamist movement Ennahda. As Zouari reached the 5 June 2007 date which should have ended his internal exile, he had an extra 26 months added to his banishment, without any justification. Zouari was unable to obtain any explanation from the police chief in Zarzis, 500 km from the capital, where he is under close surveillance, while his wife and five children live in Tunis where he was arrested. The police chief simply told him that his orders came "from above".

The undersigned organisations, members and partners of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) gathering in Montevideo, Uruguay, call upon the Tunisian government:
- to allow Mohammed Abbou to travel freely, especially when there is no legal basis to deprive him of his right to free movement.
- to end Zouari's forced exile away from his family and to allow him to move freely.

Signatories:

Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), Indonesia
Arab Network for Human Rights Information (HRinfo), Egypt
Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Bahrain
Canadian Journalists for Freedom of Expression (CJFE), Canada
Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), Philippines
Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP), Liberia
Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR), Egypt
Free Media Movement (FMM), Sri Lanka
Freedom House, United States of America
Index on Censorship, UK
Initiative for Freedom of Expression, Turkey
Institute for Reporter Freedom and Safety (IRFS), Azerbaijan
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Belgium
International Press Institute (IPI), Austria
IPS Communication Foundation (BIANET), Turkey
Maharat Foundation, Lebanon
Norwegian PEN, Norway
Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA), Palestine
Observatoire pour la liberté de presse, d'édition et de creation (OLPEC), Tunisia
Sindicato de Periodistas del Paraguay (Paraguayan Union of Journalists, SPP), Paraguay
Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), Thailand
World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC), USA
World Association of Newspapers (WAN), France

Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

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