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IFJ condemns police obstruction of demonstration for imprisoned journalist

(IFJ/IFEX) - 22 September 2010 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the Tunisian Police for preventing a demonstration in support of journalist Fahem Boukadous, who was sentenced to four years imprisonment in January this year. The demonstrators were prevented from gathering outside Gafsa prison on Saturday 18 September by the police, who had blocked the roads from the town to the prison.

Among the demonstrators who were turned back were leading figures of the Syndicat national des journalistes tunisiens (SNJT) Neji Bghouri and Zied El Heni, also members of the board of the Federation of African Journalists.

"Not only must the IFJ continue to fight for the release of our colleague Boukadous, but now we must fight for the right to demonstrate our solidarity and our struggle against injustice," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. "Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult period."

Fahem Boukadous, correspondent for the satellite channel 'Tunisian Dialogue', was found guilty of 'forming a criminal association liable to attack persons' as a result of his reporting on public demonstrations against unemployment and corruption in the mining town of Gafsa in 2008.

The IFJ has repeatedly condemned this sentence as part of a campaign of intimidation against independent journalists. The IFJ has been particularly concerned about the health of Boukadous, who suffers from severe asthma.

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