New York, April 26, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists today called for a full and transparent investigation into the police beating of Zuhair Makhlouf, contributor to Tunisian news Web site Assabil Online.
In a telephone interview, Makhlouf told CPJ that eight plainclothes
police officers arrived at his home at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and informed him
that he was under arrest. Makhlouf said he asked them to show him an arrest
warrant but instead they beat him in front of his wife and two children and
took him to Borj Ouzir police station in Ariana, a town just outside of
Makhlouf said that he believed authorities arrested him to
prevent him from attending a dinner later that day with prominent French lawyer
and head of the Paris Bar Association Christian Charrière-Bournazel, who was in
“We are outraged by this vicious attack on Zuhair Makhlouf and call on the authorities to identify and punish those who ordered and executed it,” said CPJ's Middle East & North Africa Coordinator, Mohamed Abdel Dayem. “This is becoming an all-too familiar pattern of judicial and police harassment in Tunisia.”
Makhlouf recently spent more than three months in jail
after publishing an article about pollution in the industrial areas in Nabeul,
In other news, Taoufik Ben Brik, a well-known contributor to European media outlets is due to be released later this week after serving a six-month prison sentence on trumped-up charges. And a court in the southern mining district of Gafsa is due on Tuesday to resume hearing journalist Fahem Boukadous’ appeal against a four-year jail sentence handed down to him in a politicized trial.