New York, August 17, 2022 – A Tunisian military court in the capital Tunis on Tuesday, August 16, sentenced journalist Salah Attia, founder and editor-in-chief of local independent news website Al-Ray al-Jadid, to three months in prison, according to news reports and Sondes Attia, the journalist’s daughter, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app.
The journalist was charged with “accusing public officials of illegal actions” and “harming the army’s morale and reputation,” according to those sources.
“Despite a year of repression by Tunisian President Kais Saied’s government, we are still shocked by a military court’s decision to sentence journalist Salah Attia to three months in prison,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “Authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Attia, drop all charges against him, and ensure that journalists can work freely without fear of imprisonment.”
The court dropped a third charge of “intentionally harming others, and disturbing their peace, through the media,” Sondes Attia told CPJ. Attia was arrested in a coffee shop in Tunis on June 11 and detained in connection with claims that President Saied ordered the army to close Tunisia’s labor union office; Attia made these claims during a June 10 live interview with Qatari broadcaster Al-Jazeera, as CPJ documented at the time.
CPJ emailed the Tunisian Ministry of Interior but did not receive a response.