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Journalist Mouldi Zouabi arrested, detained for eight hours

(OLPEC/IFEX) - Mouldi Zouabi, a reporter with Radio Kalima, was arbitrarily arrested on 28 January 2010 at 10:00 a.m. (local time) at the Montplaisir police station in Tunis and detained for more than eight hours after the police confiscated his equipment (recording device, camera and mobile phone).

Zouabi was scheduled to interview Mohamed Bouebdelli, director of the Free University of Tunis. The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research had recently suspended Bouebdelli's authorisation to exercise his duties until 2013.

After arriving at the university, Zouabi noticed that an impressive police contingent in civilian clothes covered the area. It was then that he was attacked by a man who had been with the group of police officers. The man first asked him for a cigarette and then seized him by the collar and assaulted him, while claiming that it was Zouabi who was the aggressor.

A police car appeared immediately to take Zouabi and his attacker to the police station, where he was searched and his equipment taken. After two hours, the police officers had not written a report and considered the case closed without, however, allowing him to be released. The police claimed that since he was a journalist they needed a green light "from above." It was only around 6:30 p.m. that he was released and his equipment returned to him.

Zouabi believes the incident was clearly aimed to prevent him from carrying out his interview with Bouebdelli, who had to catch a flight at 6:00 p.m., but also "it is a clear message addressed to me with the idea of dissuading me from continuing my work with Radio Kalima," he said. Police harassment of Zouabi has been particularly intense recently and he has received threats.

- condemns this harassment which targets journalists and assures Zouabi of its complete solidarity.
- holds the authorities responsible for his safety and calls on them to respect their commitments to guarantee press freedom and the protection of journalists.

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#Bahrain Profiles in Persecution: Hesham Abduljalil AlSabbagh @ADHRB

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