Skip to content

Tunisia: CFJ rejects sentence against journalist Houssem Hajlaoui, calls for annulment due to legal violations

Less than 1 minute Reading Time: Minutes

Press release

Geneva – June 24, 2024


On May 23, 2024, the Sixth Criminal Chamber of the Tunis First Instance Court sentenced journalist and blogger Houssem Hajlaoui to nine months in prison, with the execution suspended. The case, which has surpassed the statute of limitations, pertains to his defense of citizens’ and patients’ rights and the handling of security measures during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.

Hajlaoui was interrogated by the public prosecutor on May 13 and 14, following a complaint filed by a security unit through the Criminal Cases Directorate at El Gorjani. The charges were based on Article 86 of the Telecommunications Code and Article 24 of Decree 54. He was detained for 48 hours, and his phone was confiscated. On May 16, an arrest warrant was issued for Hajlaoui, and he

subsequently appeared before the court on May 23, where he was sentenced with a suspended execution.

The Committee for Justice (CFJ) has condemned the verdict, arguing it infringes on Hajlaoui’s freedom of opinion and expression, which are protected under Tunisian law and international treaties to which Tunisia is a signatory. CFJ is calling for the sentence to be annulled and for an end to the targeting of journalists for their opinions.

Additionally, CFJ criticized the court for violating Tunisian law, specifically Article 5 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which states that public prosecution cases expire after ten years if stemming from a felony, three years if stemming from a misdemeanor, and one year if stemming from an infraction, provided there is no ongoing investigation or prosecution within those periods. Since these statutory periods have lapsed, CFJ asserts that the ruling is legally void and must be overturned.

For more information and media requests or inquiries, please get in touch with us (+41229403538 /

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Be the first to get our latest Publication