CPJ condemns police harassment of Tunisian journalist

New York, May 28, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists is outraged that Tunisian police verbally abused and threatened journalist Taoufik Ben Brik, a well-known contributor to French newspapers and one of the country’s top critics of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. CPJ calls on the Tunisian authorities to end the campaign of intimidation and harassment against the journalist.

Ben Brik wrote on French news Web site Rue89 that a group of policemen stopped him outside of his home on Wednesday morning as he was leaving for a doctor’s appointment. He was subjected to verbal abuse and threats. Where do you think you are going? one of the police officers asked. You have nowhere to hide; the day will come when we will kill you.” The journalist returned home, missing his appointment.

“We condemn the threats made against Taoufik Ben Brik,” said Joel Simon, CPJ’s executive director. “His persecution has been relentless and is part of a larger pattern of harassment of independent journalists in Tunisia that must end.”

Ben Brik was released from prison in April after serving a six-month sentence on trumped-up charges of assault, property damage, defamation, and violating public morality.