Tunisia arrests journalist critical of government
Tunis, October 31, 2009
The Tunisian authorities have arrested the journalist Taoufik Ben Brik, said to be a virulent critic of the government, lawyers said on Saturday.
A judicial source said Ben Brik was arrested on Friday after a woman with whom he had an argument filed an assault complaint but lawyers say he was arrested for attacking the government.
"The only explanation in this case is his articles published recently in the French press," attorney Radia Nasraoui told Reuters.
Ben Brik will go on trial on November 19, and lawyers say he may face up to five years in prison.
Rights groups and some political opponents say Tunisia's government stifles free speech and beats and jails opponents and journalists, all of which the government denies.
Reporters Without Borders condemned the decision to detain the journalist, saying the "trumped-up charges (are) designed to ensure that Ben Brik languishes in prison".
The 41-year-old journalist has worked for a number of French newspapers, magazines and media outlets, including le Nouvel Observateur.com. – Reuters