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Police raid Radio Kalima studios, confiscate equipment; journalist missing

(IPI/IFEX) - The following is an IPI press release:

"They Cannot Control the Sky," Defiant Kalima Editor-in-Chief Sihem Bensadrine tells IPI

The IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group (IFEX-TMG), of which IPI is a member, on 29 January deplored the aggressive interference by police with the Tunis-based offices of Radio Kalima, an independent media outlet in Tunisia that runs an online news site and web-based radio station. Editor-in-Chief Sihem Bensadrine, who is also the founder of the Conseil National Pour Les Libertés En Tunisie (CNLT) and a prize-winning human rights advocate, today spoke to IPI's Naomi Hunt about the incident and latest developments.

Radio Kalima began satellite broadcasts early this week, in addition to their previously web-only radio, Bensadrine informed IPI. She is convinced that this prompted the police assault.

"For us, [this] is obviously a way to silence this radio. I say, it's a fight against the future and the future is not with them. They can control all things on the land. They cannot control the sky, and for this reason they are reacting like this. We will continue broadcasting on satellite even after what happened today, and Radio Kalima will never be silenced," Bensadrine said.

According to Bensadrine, there have been several troubling developments since the IFEX-TMG statement was published yesterday. She says that police, accompanied by the deputy prosecutor of Tunisia, raided Kalima's studios and confiscated equipment, including computers, recording equipment, cell phones and even cell phone chargers. Police have also reportedly sealed the building and changed the locks.

Bensadrine also told IPI that journalist Hatam Boukesra went missing sometime during the raid. Radio Kalima's staff was forced to wait outside the offices but, Bensadrine says, did not notice Boukesra leave or being taken from the building. Police have also allegedly surrounded the homes of two female Kalima reporters, threatening and insulting them.

Updates the Radio Kalima case:

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