01 March 2007
Press Freedom:
Tunisia: Abbou Begins Third Year In Prison

The World Association of Newspapers has joined an international day of action calling for the release of Mohamed Abbou, a Tunisian lawyer and human rights activist, jailed for having exercised his freedom of expression.

Mohamed Abbou is serving a three-and-a-half year sentence for exposing in two Internet postings the conditions of detention and torture of political prisoners in Tunisia. He compared them to the abuses that occurred in Abu Ghraib prison, in Iraq.

The sentence was rendered at a trial on 29 April 2005 that was denounced by many international observers as a sham. The sentence was upheld on appeal on 10 June.

Before his imprisonment on 1st March 2005, Mohamed Abbou had regularly acted pro bono in cases involving offences of opinion or human rights, and had become an emblematic figure of the Association of Young Lawyers of Tunisia.

The World Association of Newspapers calls for the immediate release of Mohamed Abbou and for a halt to all violations of freedom of expression in Tunisia.

Further information can be obtained from the National Council for Liberties in Tunisia at http://www.cnltunisie.org/ and from IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group (TMG) at http://campaigns.ifex.org/tmg/