A Tunisian court on Thursday detained a journalist Chahrazed Akacha who criticised police and the interior minister, denouncing a setback in freedom of expression since President Kais Saied seized executive power last summer.
After another journalist was imprisoned for a week in March for publishing an article on militants, Chahrazed Akacha became the second journalist to be imprisoned in less than a month.
Akacha was arrested, according to the union, as a result of a Facebook post in which she criticised the interior minister and accused police of insulting and abusing her on the street last week.
Akacha wrote in her post that the interior minister should supervise his police officers, referring to them as “dogs” after she claimed they beat her, insulted her, and removed her veil.
However, the police and interior ministry are yet to comment on the situation.
Tunisians gained improved speech and press freedoms following the 2011 revolution that overthrew former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked the Arab Spring demonstrations.
The democratic system established following the revolt, however, is in shambles after President Saied took executive power and ignored the constitution to rule by decree, a move denounced by opponents as a coup.
Saied dismissed parliament last month, causing enormous outrage both at home and abroad.
Saied, who rose to prominence as a law professor after appearing on television shows to discuss the constitution in 2011 and 2012, says he respects all freedoms and rights and will not become a dictator.
His acts, critics claim, including the replacement of a body that ensured judicial independence, demonstrate he is determined to establish one-man rule.
It should be recalled that seven journalists were arrested by Somaliland police on Wednesday while covering a prison altercation in the region’s capital, Hargeisa.
Meanwhile, the National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists (SNIT), asked for the immediate release of colleague Chahrazed Akacha, arrested yesterday on the orders of the judiciary on charges of having “damaged third parties or disturbed their tranquility through public telecommunications networks “, pursuant to Article 86 of the Telecommunications Code.
In a note, the journalists union recalls that Akacha last week had been heard by the investigators, after the presentation of a complaint against her by the Ministry of the Interior, against the background of messages published on her Facebook account, in which she criticized the direction of the department.
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