The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called for the case against journalist Omar Mestiri who faces defamation charges in a Tunisian court on Thursday to be thrown out. The journalist is accused because of an article over a decision by the bar association to allow a lawyer convicted of fraud and perjury to continue practising.
“This case is a clear example of the attacks that independent journalists face in Tunisia,” said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “This case should be thrown out and there must be an end to the practice of bringing charges against journalists who publish critical articles.”
Mestiri published criticism of the decision of the Tunisian Bar Association to rehabilitate a lawyer who had been barred from practising following convictions for fraud and perjury.
His articles had been published on the Kalima website, which is banned in Tunisia and cannot be read there. If convicted Mestiri could face over three years in prison.
The IFJ is supporting Mestiri’s defence in this case and has asked Raouf Ayadi, a member of Mestiri’s defence team, to act as an observer on its behalf.
For more information contact the IFJ at 32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries worldwide