First Published: 2014-05-21

Tunisia atheist activist back in prison after presidential pardon
Mejri receives same sentence handed down by court of first instance in April for insulting public official.
Middle East Online

Apparent desire to keep Jabeur in prison at all costs

TUNIS - A young Tunisian freed in March after two years in prison for posting cartoons deemed insulting to Islam, saw his eight-month sentence on a separate charge confirmed on appeal Wednesday.

Jabeur Mejri received the same sentence handed down by the court of first instance in April for insulting a public official, his lawyer Ahmed Mselmi said.

Mejri, an atheist activist, was jailed in 2012 for seven and half years for posting caricatures of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed, but walked free in March after receiving a presidential pardon.

He was detained six weeks later for insulting a court official over the date of a summons for him to appear before the investigating judge.

His support committee on Wednesday slammed what they called "judicial harassment".

"It's clear... that there is a desire not to accept the presidential pardon and to keep Jabeur in prison at all costs, to make him pay dearly for his freedom of expression and deter him from any further attempts," the group said in a statement.

The unemployed activist from Mahdia, south of Tunis, had originally been jailed in March 2012 for publishing the controversial drawings, but President Moncef Marzouki decided to pardon Mejri in February.

He was released two weeks later, but only after other charges against him emerged involving embezzlement and dating back to the time when Mejri worked for the Tunisian railways -- well before his imprisonment for posting the cartoons -- charges that are still being investigated.

Amnesty International called him the first prisoner of conscience in Tunisia following the 2011 uprising that ousted veteran strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Muslim extremists who were persecuted under Ben Ali's regime have enjoyed a resurgence since the revolution, and were blamed for numerous acts of violence against targets deemed "un-Islamic" when the government led by moderate Islamist party Ennahda was in power.

 

US-led coalition warplanes hit IS near Syria's Al-Bab

Florida airport shooter ‘inspired’ by IS jiahdists

Palestinian home demolitions spark deadly violence

Iran opposes US joining Syria talks

Syria war forces elderly to take shelter in retirement homes

Istanbul nightclub attacker 'received orders from IS'

Turkish border officials refuse entry to NYT reporter

Fatah, Hamas agree to form unity government

Snowden’s stay in Russia extended by two years

East Syria clashes continue between IS, regime forces

Syrian general, 8 soldiers killed in tunnel blast

Turkey snubs UN hearing on detained Rwanda genocide judge

Rouhani calls for end to Saudi ‘interference’ across region

Saudi says China rise source of global stability not conflict

Lengthy drought leaves Somalia with serious famine risk

Gunman found in comfy Istanbul flat

Iran, Syria sign phone, petrol deals in Tehran

Jordan charges 8 with inciting opposition against regime

Iranian president rules out renegotiating nuclear deal

Turkey prosecutors demand up to 142 years in jail for Kurd leader

180 dead after boat capsizes in Mediterranean

Saudi carries out first death sentence of 2017

Libyan granted right to sue UK ex-minister for rendition

Syria regime, rebels name heads of delegation for Astana talks

Istanbul nightclub attacker captured

Syria troops, IS jihadists battle on in Deir Ezzor

Israel occupation forces rearrest Palestinian journalist

Russian FM says Syria peace talks to ‘consolidate’ ceasefire

Amnesty warns EU's anti-terror laws threaten human rights

Saudi health emergency after mass food poisoning

Darfur rebel groups rebuilding their forces in Libya, South Sudan

Saudi FM says Washington, Riyadh interests align

Morocco parliament elects new speaker

Hamas rejects ‘absurd’ Paris peace conference

Israeli army shoots dead Palestinian in West Bank clashes

Obama warns Trump against undoing Iran deal on anniversary

Turkish policeman who assassinated Russian ambassador buried in unmarked grave

EU foreign affairs chief says bloc will stand by Iran deal

UN judge caught in Turkey coup probe leaves Rwanda court blocked

Tunisia receives two more US patrol boats

Libya forces retake Benghazi district from jihadists

Turkey roadside bomb kills three policemen

Iraq forces retake IS-bombed shrine in Mosul

Palestinians, Israelis look ahead to Trump's America

Heavy snow traps 1,000 motorists in Tunisia