REGIONS:

SUBSCRIBE:

Sign up for weekly updates

Act now to free Tunisian blogger, jailed for 7 years

Tunisian blogger Jabeur Mejri will remain in jail for another six years after the Court of Cassation confirmed on 25 April 2013 his seven-and-a-half year sentence for expressing allegedly blasphemous views online. Join the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International and call for Mejri's release.

Jabeur Mejri
Jabeur Mejri

Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International

Mejri has been in prison since his arrest on 5 March 2012 for using social networks to publicise a satirical book entitled The Illusion of Islam. On 9 March 2012, a court in Mahdia (eastern Tunisia) charged Mejri with "disturbing the public order and violating social morals" under article 121 (3) and 226 of Penal Code, and with "publishing articles which violate good morals" under article 86 of Communication Law. These laws were established by the Ben Ali regime. On 15 March 2012, he was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison. Mejri was also fined 1200 Tunisian Dinars ($790). The author of the book, writer Ghazi Beji, was also charged in the case but fled Tunisia and was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison in absentia. Mejri, however, has been in prison since he was arrested and has lost all appeals.

According to Mejri's lawyer, he was tortured during his interrogation and was also attacked on several occasions inside the prison by other prisoners after news spread that he had "insulted Islam." On 23 April 2013, a committee supporting Mejri and Beji published a letter written from his prison cell, in which Mejri wrote, "There's no freedom of expression here in Tunisia, it is dead… I am denied medicine to cure my illness and other rights. Seven years and six months is a long period to spend in a small, dark and gloomy place. Officers take pleasure in torturing me."

Please take action by clicking to send a letter (to be sent in Arabic) to Tunisian authorities:

• Condemning the harsh prison sentence handed down to blogger Jabeur Mejri solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to free expression;

• Calling for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Tunisia is a signatory;

• Expressing concerns for his safety, and seeking assurances that he is not being tortured or ill-treated in detention which violates Article 5 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

• Urging the Tunisian authorities to allow him access to immediate medical attention.

The letter


President Moncef Marzouki
Prime Minister Ali Laarayedh
Minister of Justice Nadhir Ben Ammou
Minister of Human Rights and Transitional Justice Samir Dilou

Your Excellencies,

I am writing to you today to ask you to please free blogger Jabeur Mejri after the Court of Cassation confirmed his seven-and-a-half year prison sentence for expressing allegedly blasphemous views online on 25 April 2013.

Mejri has been in prison since his arrest on 5 March 2012 for using social networks to publicise a satirical book entitled The Illusion of Islam. On 9 March 2012, a court in Mahdia charged Mejri with "disturbing the public order and violating social morals" under article 121 (3) and 226 of Penal Code, and with "publishing articles which violate good morals" under article 86 of Communication Law. These laws were established by the Ben Ali regime. On 15 March 2012, he was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison. Mejri was also fined 1200 Tunisian Dinars ($790). The author of the book, writer Ghazi Beji, was also charged in the case but fled Tunisia and was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison in absentia. Mejri, however, has been in prison since he was arrested and has lost all appeals.

According to Mejri’s lawyer, he was tortured during his interrogation and was also attacked on several occasions inside the prison by other prisoners after news spread that he had "insulted Islam."

On 23 April 2013, a committee supporting Mejri and Beji published a letter from Mejri, written in his prison cell, in which he wrote, "There's no freedom of expression here in Tunisia, it is dead… I am denied medicine to cure my illness and other rights. Seven years and six months is a long period to spend in a small, dark and gloomy place. Officers take pleasure in torturing me."

I believe that Mejri and Beji were prosecuted solely for carrying out the peaceful exercise of their right to free expression and as such I:

• Call for Mejri's immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Tunisia is a signatory;
• Express concerns for his safety, and seek assurances that he is not being tortured or ill-treated in detention which violates Article 5 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
• Urge Tunisian authorities to allow him access to immediate medical attention.

Latest Tweet:

Couldn't make it to #IGF2016? That's fine. Our very own @ewoycik did. Just follow her to find out latest happenings from the Forum in Mexico