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Kalima website targeted; police attack OLPEC secretary general

(OLPEC/IFEX) - The following is a 10 October 2008 OLPEC press release:

Kalima news website targeted; new police attack against OLPEC director

The online magazine Kalima (http://www.kalimatunisie) has suffered an attack that has completely destroyed its web content.

The site's webmasters have been unable to update or even to access it since the morning of 8 October 2008. The site will now have to be completely rebuilt and uploaded.

According to Kalima editor-in-chief Sihem Bensedrine, "the only people who would benefit from an attack on a website that is already inaccessible to Internet users in Tunisia are the security services."

"I would not rule out the possibility that this act was committed by the secret services, with the aid of hackers or pirates based in Tunisia or abroad," she added.

The attack comes three months after the site was re-launched as multimedia platform and archive.

Other independent sites have been the subject of similar attacks in the past. Tunisnews (http://www.tunisnews.net), which distributes a daily newsletter via e-mail, was targeted in a similar way in April 2008. Judge Mokhtar Yahiaoui's blog ( http://tunisiawatch.rsfblog.org ) was also the object of such an attack in November 2005.

A number Tunisian and foreign websites with a political or human rights focus have been censored in Tunisia for several years. The video-sharing sites Dailymotion and YouTube have also been the target of censors.

Police attack human rights activists

In a separate incident, plainclothes political police officers subjected Bensedrine to physical and verbal abuse in downtown Tunis, as she was making her way to a solidarity rally for writer and activist Zakia Dhifaoui, who is also a political prisoner. Dhifaoui, who was jailed in July, was sentenced to four months and 15 days' imprisonment.

Zouhir Makhlouf, another activist who was on his way to the same rally, was also subjected to physical abuse and insults. The rally was organised by the Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties (FDTL), an opposition party.

OLPEC views the attack on the Kalima website as a violation of free expression and an attempt to muzzle a free media voice. OLPEC condemns the use of violence against human rights activists and the violation of the right to free assembly.

Neziha Rjiba
Vice president
OLPEC

For further information on previous attacks on Bensedrine, see http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/96318/

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