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Amnesty calls on Tunisia to stop prosecuting activists

Tunisian chant slogans during a gathering, to demand the release of detained protesters who were tried for disrupting public order, in front of the local court in Tataouine on 23 June, 2020 [FATHI NASRI/AFP via Getty Images]
Tunisian chant slogans during a protest demanding the release of detained protesters in Tunisia on 23 June 2020 [FATHI NASRI/AFP via Getty Images]

Amnesty International yesterday called on the Tunisian authorities to stop using "outdated" laws to prosecute 40 social media activists, considering it a threat to freedom of expression.

The organisation said in a detailed report issued yesterday that "at least 40 bloggers, political activists, human rights defenders and community managers of Facebook pages that have a large number of followers have been subjected to criminal prosecutions between 2018 and 2020 for simply writing posts criticizing the local authorities, the police, or other state officials."

"It is extremely worrying to see bloggers and activists being prosecuted under laws dating back to the era of repression in Tunisia, ten years after the revolution, simply for posting their opinions on Facebook," said Amna Kallali, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

According to the rights group, most of these prosecutions did not lead to prison sentences, however, the summons for investigation, the indictments and trials on charges that may lead to imprisonment amount to harassment and intimidation.

Amnesty called on authorities to stop prosecuting people for exercising their legitimate right to peaceful expression, and reform laws that pose a threat to freedom of expression.

READ: Tunisian protesters say media bill would open sector to graft, extremism

Categories
AfricaAmnesty InternationalInternational OrganisationsNewsTunisia
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