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Respected website put up for sale after being blocked by the government

(ANHRI/IFEX) - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemns the continued violation of freedom of expression by the Tunisian government after it blocked the Bawabati ( ) website over the site's publication of an article about the French book "La Régente de Carthage" ("The Regent of Carthage"). The book addresses the domination by Tunisian first lady Leila Ben Ali and her family of all key positions in the country.

The Bawabati home page says that the site is blocked in Tunisia where it is hosted, and that restrictions have been imposed on the publication of any new content. "We will be back as soon as the technical glitches are overcome," the site says.

After a week of trying to recover his site, however, Fawzy Massoud gave up and put it up for sale, taking into account the fact that even before the site was blocked it experienced many difficulties of varying severity but of increasing frequency, rendering smooth operation almost impossible. In addition, Massoud himself has been persecuted.

Bawabati is a highly respected Arabic site, known for its strong opinion articles written by veteran writers.

ANHRI calls on the Tunisian government to fulfill its recent promises to respect and protect the basic freedoms of Tunisians, especially freedom of expression. The promises were announced in an attempt to better the government's image ahead of upcoming presidential and legislative elections.

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