Cairo August 26, 2012
ANHRI denounces the judicial decision issued by the department of the charge in the Court of Appeal of Tunis of arresting the manager of a tunisian channel due to allegation of illegal use of funds of the state-run television during the rule of the deposed President Zine El- Abidine Ben Ali.
The tunisian judiciary has issued a decree late on the evening of Friday, August 24 of arrest “Sami Fihri,” Chairman of the tunisian channel private television, after pressing charges against him of holding shady deals with the national television in the last ten years, through the production of tv programs and sell to the television with the help of a former president-in laws of the Trabelsi family; where he was a partner.
It is announced to the public opinion that these programs were purchased by virtue of the public legitimacy of transactions and in spite of not condemning “Sami Fihri” in this case, which was completed the deliberation of it a few months ago,
The decision is violating the law, where is not called “Fihri” or a lawyer to the hearing, in which decree was issued. Then the judge left for an open holiday without hearing the defense, which raises the doubts about the credibility of the accusations directed to him, especially because it comes after few days of preventing the broadcast program “Political Logic” which aired on the channel in particular the paragraph of “Alqlabs” which includes puppet embodies tunisian political figures, such as Rashid Ghannouchi, leader of the Alnnahadah movement, and Hamadi Jebali Secretary General of the movement and the Prime Minister and the President Moncef Marzouki,
After numerous pressures practiced by the Tunisian government, four days before Eid Al-Fitr, as well as the pressure exerted by Lutfi Ziton the political adviser of “Hamadi Jebali” the Prime Minister and the Secretary General of Alnnahadah Movement, on the channel to force it to declare to the media that the channel was not exposed to any pressure and it stopped broadcasting channel of its own.
These are not the first incident, which is an indication of the decline in freedoms in the country following the success of the revolution, where the Tunisian judiciary earlier fined Nabil Karoui, director of Nessma TV by an amount of 2400 dinars for offending religious rites and disturbing the public order as well as violating sacred values,due to the movie “Press Police” in which personified the God.
ANHRI said: “We do not mind prosecuting journalists close to Ben Ali’s regime or others if this is due to financial violations relating to public funds or corruption, but we are afraid that the objective of the arrest warrant of Sami Fahri is a punishment due to his criticism to the current Tunisian authorities, especially in light of the timing of the arrest warrant was issued and the circumstances of the trial as well as we warn the Tunisian government from following the policies of confiscation of media freedoms and restrictions on freedom of expression that the Tunisian people revolted for during Ben Ali’s rule and also warns from the failure to meet the aspirations of the Tunisian people after the great revolution”
ANHRI calls the Tunisian authorities to review their positions related to the issues of freedoms and the release of all detainees due to the exercise of their right to freedom of expression and to ensure that this right to all citizens ..