New York, September 5, 2023—CPJ has called on Tunisian authorities to release journalist Khalifa Guesmi, who was taken into custody on Sunday to serve his five-year prison sentence on charges of disclosing national security information.
“The September 3 arrest of journalist Khalifa Guesmi is a clear attack on journalists and the freedom of the press in Tunisia,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, in Washington, D.C. “Tunisian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Guesmi, drop all charges against him, and ensure that journalists can work freely without fear of imprisonment.”
Tunisian police arrested Guesmi, a correspondent at local independent radio station and news website Mosaique FM, in the southern city of Kairouan and brought him to the capital, Tunis, to serve his sentence.
Guesmi was initially arrested on March 18, 2022, and held for a week after authorities alleged that his reporting about the dismantling of a terrorist cell illegally disclosed information about government surveillance. On November 29, a court sentenced Guesmi to one year in prison. On May 16, 2023, an appeals court increased his sentence to five years.