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OLPEC's secretary-general turned back at Algerian border

(OLPEC/IFEX) - The following is a 24 June 2008 OLPEC press release:

Tunisian journalist turned back at Algerian border

OLPEC Secretary General Sihem Bensedrine was turned back by Algerian border police on 18 June 2008 as she attempted to cross at the Oum Tboul border near Tabarka, in the northwest. She was on a private visit to the country accompanied by her husband, Omar Mestiri.

The couple was held for more than two and a half hours before they were told they would be turned back. No reason was given for the decision.

The two journalists said they noticed an increased police presence on the road, both heading towards the border and on the way back. They also said that they were surprised to see members of the secret police on the Tunisian side of the border post, and that they witnessed a telephone exchange between the two units while they were waiting at the post.

The Observatory for Freedom of the Press, Publishing and Creation:
- Denounces this incident as unjustified and in violation of freedom of movement as prescribed by the Union of the Arab Maghreb (UMA).
- Regrets that Maghreb unity only applies to cooperation for the purposes of security and the harassment of human rights activists and journalists.

Naziha Rjiba
Vice President

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