Tunisia - Human rights activist Tarek Soussi released provisionally



    MONTREAL, Sept. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - An appeal court in Bizerte (60 km north
of Tunis) yesterday ordered the release of Tarek Soussi, a member of the
International Association for the Support of Political Prisoners (AISPP), but
he still faces prosecution on charges of "spreading false information liable
to disrupt public order" in an interview for the pan-Arab satellite TV station
Al-Jazeera.
    "Soussi has been reunited with his family after being held abusively for
29 days," Reporters Without Borders said. "His damning comments on one of the
Arab world's most popular TV news stations displeased the authorities, who
apparently want to make an example out of him for all Tunisian dissidents.
Free speech is a still risky business under President Zine el-Abidine Ben
Ali."
    Interviewed as an AISPP representative for Al-Jazeera's news programme
about the Northern African countries on 26 August, Soussi described the
abusive arrest of seven youths in Bizerte as a "kidnapping." The authorities,
who said the youths were "taken into custody in the course of an investigation
into an attack on persons and property," responded by arresting Soussi, 48,
the next day. The charge brought against him carries a maximum penalty of
three years in prison.
    Samir Dilou, one of Soussi's lawyers, described his release to Reporters
Without Borders as "a small, hesitant step in the right direction, but the
charges against him are still in place and there is nothing to prevent him
being sent back to prison." No date has been set for a resumption of his
trial.




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Executive Director,
Reporters Without Borders Canada, (514) 521-4111, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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