First Published: 2013-04-06


Authorities in Tunisia ignore new court order: Sami Fehri remains in custody


Lawyer says he has met Justice Minister Nadhir Ben Ammou but that no solution has been found, adding he hopes issue might be resolved 'on Monday.'


Middle East Online

Media reeling under pressure from Ennahda

TUNIS - The authorities in Tunisia are refusing to free TV station owner Sami Fehri despite a new court order for his release, his lawyer said on Saturday, adding talks were under way with the justice ministry.

"It's a legal problem," Abdelaziz Essid said.

"The judges in the Court of Cassation said (on Friday) that Sami Fehri must be released, but the ministry has a different view. There's a contradiction: it is a legal problem that will have to be solved by legal means."

Fehri was detained in August last year in a move NGOs denounced as an attempt by the authorities to silence their critics.

Essid said he had met Justice Minister Nadhir Ben Ammou on Friday but that no solution had been found, adding he hoped the issue might be resolved "on Monday."

The lawyer said the minister, an independent in the Islamist-led coalition government who took office at the beginning of the month, was fully briefed on the situation.

"I am optimistic," Essid added.

The Court of Cassation first ruled that Fehri be freed last November, but he remained in custody.

In its latest ruling, the court also referred the case back to a lower court.

Fehri gave himself up to the authorities last August after being charged with "illegal use of Tunisian state television resources" during the rule of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, at the risk of being jailed for 10 years.

His Ettounsiya television channel had aired a controversial satirical programme critical of the government.

Fehri, who founded Ettounsiya in March 2011, two months after the revolution swept Ben Ali from power, had been involved with a production company belonging to Belhassen Trabelsi, the former president's brother-in-law.

His detention last August caused uproar, notably because it came just days after he announced having pulled the satirical show "Guignols" (French for "puppets") under pressure from the Islamist party Ennahda, which heads the coalition government.


Turkey and the Islamic State

Al-Nusra Front frees Lebanese hostages in swap deal

US over-reliance on Kurds in anti-ISIS fight carries many risks

Yemen President reshuffles cabinet ‘to smooth differences’ with PM

Despite huge global pressure, labour exploitation continues in Qatar

Global warming could deprive planet of oxygen

US Special Ops will be deployed to fight IS jihadists in Iraq

Egypt arrests (another) prominent journalist

Israeli forces kill two Palestinians after alleged stabbing attacks

Putin accuses Turkey of protecting ISIS oil exports

Syrians reach deal for exit of rebels from last Homs district

Israeli advert accused of racism

Shelling from Yemen kills another Saudi border guard

Qaeda warns Saudi Arabia against executing jihadists

Iran denies any links to alleged terror plot in Kenya

Tunisia shortens curfew imposed in capital

German cabinet approves assistance to fight ISIS

Britain looks poised to join Syria air strikes

Mixed verdict by Israeli court for settlers who burned Palestinian teen alive

UAE says ready to commit ground troops in Syria

Iran pilgrims break through Iraq border fence

Syria regime denies chemical weapons use

Erdogan: Turkey will not apologise to Russia

3 Saudi soldiers killed on Yemen border

Syrians negotiate rebel exit from Homs

Frustration grows as Tunisia keeps border shut over deadly blast

France says cooperation with Syria not possible under Assad regime

Iran: Saudi plan for Syria ignores Vienna agreements

Iraq PM says country has sufficient forces to fight IS

Kuwait names new acting Oil Minister in cabinet reshuffle

Number of ISIS executions hits more than 3,500 in Syria alone

‘Russia’ air strikes kill at least 18 civilians in Ariha town in Syria

EU offers Turkey cash, closer ties at migration summit

Saudi women begin first-ever campaigns for public office

Bashir takes another step on path of rapprochement with Gulf countries

Iran wants closure of nuclear probe in order to implement deal

Iran General ‘seriously wounded’ in rocket attack in Syria

Turkey seeks to ease tensions with Moscow

Turkey protests against journalist arrests

Corbyn criticised over Syria air strike rejection

Saudi women begin first-ever election campaign

Russia prepares retaliation against Turkey

Tunisia to rethink anti-IS strategy

Cameron pushes for Britain to join Syria air strikes

Erdogan denies buying oil from IS