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.

 

Yemen warring parties 'closer' to agreement

Palestinian PM dismisses Netanyahu proposal

Major assaults target IS jihadists in Iraq, Syria

New Afghan Taliban leader named

Abu Dhabi oil giant cuts thousands of jobs

Syrian base used by Russia damaged in IS attack

Kurdish, Arab forces announce anti-IS offensive north of Syria's Raqa

Israel PM's travel expenses under scrutiny

EgyptAir victims' relatives give samples for DNA tests

Iran sends new delegation to Saudi for hajj talks

Hardline cleric elected head of Iran's Assembly of Experts

Civilians trapped as Fallujah siege tightens

Iraq's Fallujah offensive draws attention from embattled PM

Turkey incoming PM unveils cabinet

US, Russia scramble to save Syria truce

Libyan coastguards intercept 550 bound for Europe

Campus bomb kills two in Yemen's Sanaa

Saudi soldier killed in landmine blast on Yemen border

Over 148 killed in IS bombings in Syria regime heartland

Iraq forces battle IS jihadists to retake Fallujah

Erdogan advisor says Turkey could suspend EU deals

Iraq launches military operation to retake Fallujah

Oil prices dip as Iran says no to output freeze

Skepticism ahead of Istanbul humanitarian summit

Sudan steps up pressure for exit of Darfur peacekeepers

UN Palestinian agency says half its schools hit by conflict

Bombs kill more than 120 in Syria regime strongholds

Netanyahu rejects French peace initiative

Gunmen kill 8 worshipers in Darfur

India in deal to turn Iran port into trade hub

Turkey's incoming PM working on new cabinet

Israel lifts ban on Gaza cement deliveries

Yemen warring parties meet after long pause

Egypt enlists submersible to search for EgyptAir crash clues

Tunisia's Ennahda reelects Ghannouchi as party chief

At least 20 dead in Yemen suicide bombing

Syria rebels give truce brokers 48 hours to end regime offensive

Deadly bombings rock northeast Syria as US commander visits

Ex- government minister dies in Libya ISIS clashes

Green Zone breach may set stage for more violence in Iraq

‘Last chance’ to save Yemen peace talks

Egypt deploys submarine in search for clues in plane crash

Erdogan loyalist set to be Turkey PM

Attempt to disperse protesters turns deadly in Iraq

EgyptAir crash fuels theories