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Taoufik Ben Brik's son harassed and threatened by police officers

(RSF/IFEX) - On 8 December 2010, Ali Ben Brik, the son of poet and journalist Taoufik Ben Brik was approached by two police officers in black uniforms near Ennasr 2 police station in Tunis.

After asking him to identify himself, they threatened to shave his head and force him to enroll in the military. As the police officers were leaving, they warned him they would wait for him the next day at the same place and time and that he had no way of escaping them.

Insulted and threatened verbally, Ali, 14, is now afraid of going to school on his own.

On 9 December, Azza Zarrad, Taoufik Ben Brik's wife, contacted Ennasr 2 police station in order to file a complaint. "After agreeing to record the complaint, the chief of police changed his mind, denying there were any 'black shirts' in the district," Taoufik Ben Brik told RSF.

In Tunisia, it is common for the authorities to harass the family members of free expression activists. It is particularly true in the case of Afef Benacer, wife of journalist Fahem Boukadous, who is badgered by the police on a daily basis.

Many young people whose only crime is to be the children of human rights defenders have had their passport requests denied or delayed, but this is believed to be the first time that the "black shirts", a police branch associated with the president's office, target a minor.

RSF is outraged by the attitude of the Tunisian authorities. Such practices are unacceptable. The organisation demands that the threats and pressure brought to bear against journalists and their family members be stopped.

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