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Two journalists arrested in relation to Sidi Bouzid riots

(RSF/IFEX) - On 29 December 2010, Mouldi Zouabi, a correspondent with Radio Kalima was arrested in front of the courthouse in Jendouba (150 km west of Tunis). Sihem Bensedrine, the manager of Radio Kalima, told RSF, "Mouldi called from the police station and shouted, 'they hit me and snatched my glasses', then nothing."

The journalist was covering a gathering organised by lawyers in front of the Jendouba court. The gathering was part of the vast social protest which has been shaking the country since 18 December.

At least three lawyers, Rebah Kheraifi, Hedi Mena'i and Saïd Mechichi, were assaulted by police officers inside the court. According to the information received by RSF, the court is always surrounded by police officers who don't allow anyone to enter or leave the building.

In addition, on 29 December, Ammar Amroussia, a correspondent with "El-Badil" newspaper, was violently arrested by undercover police officers in Gafsa (400 km south of the capital) while attending to the shop of Afef Bennaceur, the wife of journalist Fahem Boukadous, who has been jailed since 15 July. The day before, Amroussia had spoken during a gathering.

Amroussia, a political militant, lost his job as a teacher in 1997 and now contributes to the banned "El Badil" (Alternative) newspaper, affiliated with the illegal Communist Workers Party of Tunisia.

On 28 December, two lawyers, Abdelraouf Ayadi and Shoukri Bel' Eid, were arrested during a gathering organised by members of the bar association of Tunis. They were released the next morning.

RSF condemns once again the information blackout on Sidi Bouzid, where foreign and Tunisian journalists have been prevented from accessing the city to cover the serious social turmoil and violence that is taking place.

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