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Another blogger harassed, detained

(ANHRI/IFEX) - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) strongly condemned the summoning of blogger Fatma Riahi to the anti-crime squad office on 2 November 2009.

ANHRI denounced the continuing repression in Tunisia and the ongoing threat of prosecution that bloggers and activists have to face. "The detention of Riahi is another violation added to the poor record of the state of Tunisia on human rights," said ANHRI.

Riahi was summoned again on 3 November and escorted by three security agents who searched her residence and searched and seized her computer. Then, she was detained on charges of libel on the Internet and on allegations that she was the administrator of the blog Deba Tunisie (The Tunisian Debate): .

On 6 November, the blog Deba Tunisie published cartoons in response to an article in "La Presse", a Tunisian French-language newspaper. Meanwhile, Riahi's blog, Arabica, was blocked three days prior to her arrest.

Riahi was released on 7 November, however, she declared that she might be summoned again, which would lead to another detention period.

ANHRI denounces this policy of intimidation by the Tunisian authorities which aims to silence any free voices. This is especially the case here as Riahi was deprived of her legal right to consult with her lawyer, Leila Ben Debba. Ben Debba only spoke with her client for a few minutes.

ANHRI calls on the Tunisian government to stop the prosecution of all activists and opposition members. The repressive policies in Tunisia, some of the worst in the Arab world, have resulted in silencing many voices out of fear of prosecution and imprisonment.

Gamal Eid, ANHRI's executive director, called for a solidarity stand with Riahi in any way possible, through social networks or sending faxes and e-mails to the Tunisian authorities and officials, calling on them to stop the prosecution of Riahi and to release all prisoners of conscience in Tunisia.

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