New York, February 10, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) honorary co-chairman Terry Anderson sent a letter today to Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali calling for the release of Tunisian Internet journalist Zouhair Yahyaoui, jailed since June 2002, and renewing calls for the release of Hamadi Jebali, the editor of Al-Fajr, the weekly newspaper of the banned Islamist Al-Nahda party, who has been in jail since 1991.

Yahyaoui was arrested on June 4, 2002, and charged with intentionally publishing false information—a violation of Article 306 of Tunisia’s Penal Code—and of using stolen communication lines to post his Web site—a violation of Section 84 of the country’s Telecommunications Code. In July, an appeals court confirmed the verdict but reduced the sentence from 28 months in prison to 24 months.

The case against Yahyaoui stemmed from statements on a chat forum and articles he had posted on his Web publication, TUNeZINE, that criticized the Tunisian government, including the May 2002 referendum in which 99.52 percent of voters approved constitutional changes allowing Your Excellency to run for a fourth term as president.

To read the letter, click here.