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Appeals court upholds journalist Slim Boukhdir's one-year sentence

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders is outraged that the country's highest court of appeal in Tunis on 3 April 2008 upheld journalist Slim Boukhdir's one-year prison sentence on a charge of "insulting behaviour towards an official in the exercise of his duty." He has no further possibility of appeal.

"Detained for the past four months, Slim Boukhdir is living a nightmare," the press freedom organisation said. "His arrest was orchestrated by the police and his trial was a sham. The judges turned a deaf ear to the defence lawyers and denied Boukhdir due process. We call for his immediate and unconditional release."

This decision confirmed the verdict and sentence handed down in December 2007 by a district court in Sakiet Ezzit, a suburb of Sfax (230 km south of Tunis), which was in turn upheld by an appeal court in the same district in January.

The correspondent of the London-based "Al Quds Al Arabi" newspaper and the Al-Arabiya TV station's website ( ), Boukhdir was arrested on the outskirts of Sfax on 26 November after an argument with policemen who were following him. He has now spent a total of 129 days in Sfax prison and his health is deteriorating.

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