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Rapper arrested, detained, for lyrics critical of outcome of revolution

(ANHRI/IFEX) – 5 February 2012 – The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemns the arrest of 27-year-old Tunisian rapper Anis Al-Marabty, also known as "Volcanis", for singing a song entitled "Shy Matbadel" [Nothing has changed].

Al-Marabty was arrested at his home in the Tunisian capital on 1 February by six plainclothes police officers. After asking him if he was the author of the song "Nothing has changed", they confiscated his computer and took him to an unknown location. His family located him 24 hours later at the Shousha security detention centre. He was charged with using drugs.

At the same time, the Ministry of Interior has updated the statement on its Facebook page to say that Al-Marabty and 10 other people, including two girls, were charged with using and dealing drugs.

Al-Marabty's song calls most of the political parties "militias", sees the electoral victory of Al-Nahda's party, and Monsef Al-Marzouqy's election as interim president as a repetition of the scenario of Ben Ali's regime. The song also talks about unemployment, the increasing number of the sit-ins and the raising of prices.

This is the first time after the Tunisian revolution that a rapper has been arrested. The last rapper to be arrested under Ben Ali was the famous rapper known as the General. He was arrested for his anti-regime songs.

ANHRI said, "arresting a rapper for an anti-regime song is incompatible with freedom of expression in the country that inaugurated the Arab Spring. The Tunisian authorities should release the rapper or submit real, and not fabricated, evidence to prove he is involved in a criminal act, given that Ben Ali's regime had been using fabricated criminal charges to gag journalists and dissidents.

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