IFJ Condemns Harassment of Tunisian Journalist

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the ongoing harassment of Tunisian journalist Slim Boukhdir, who has been a frequent target of authorities, and called for a fair hearing when he faces charges stemming from a search by police on the group taxi he was riding in.

“The repeated harassment, attacks and restrictions on Slim are not a coincidence,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “The authorities have repeatedly targeted him to silence his critical reporting on the government and send a message to other journalists that independent reporting will lead to constant harassment. We are calling on the government to release Slim and to end this pattern of intimidation.”

Boukhdir was arrested at 4 am on Monday morning in the town of Sfax as he was travelling to Tunis in a collective taxi. He was brought out by force from the car for an identity check by security forces.

He is due to appear in court on December 4 for a hearing on charges that he made verbal attacks on security agents, disorderly conduct, and not showing ID when asked.

Boukhdir, a journalist and human rights activist who has been continuously harassed in recent years, was attacked and beaten by plain clothes police agents on 3rd May, World Press Freedom Day, after reporting on the deaths of seven people in an accident during the Tunisian Star Academy concert.

Later in May he was attacked again while leaving the offices of the National Council for Freedom (CNLT). Boukhdir is regularly harassed and recognized his attacker from a group of security agents that often follow him.

Just a few weeks ago he staged a hunger strike after authorities refused to return his passport to him. He gave up the strike after he was told he would get it back.

In recent months Boukhdir has written about corruption, specifically the President's loan of 1.5 million USD to one of his wife's relatives who opened a special school. His articles have been published in US magazine The Nation, Tunisnews and several other papers and web sites.

The court refused to let Boukhdir bring charges against the police offers that arrested him.

For more information contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 2207

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide