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Tunisia: CFJ rejects sentencing of rights activist Shaima Issa, calls for release

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Press release

Geneva – May 12, 2024


Tunisian political activist and human rights defender Shaima Issa confirmed receiving a one-year immediate prison sentence from the military court on Wednesday, May 8th, 2024. She was charged with “inciting military personnel to disobey orders, issuing a hostile order against the president, and spreading rumors.”

This sentence stemmed from a radio statement made in 2022 where Issa criticized the ruling authorities and the president’s integrity during elections. Authorities had previously barred her from traveling following an investigation order on January 18, 2023. Issa argued that her statements in the media did not

constitute a military crime but were within the realm of everyday political discourse and public affairs.

The Committee for Justice (CFJ) asserts that the treatment of Tunisian activist Shaima Issa represents a violation of her right to freedom of opinion and expression, directly contravening Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This article guarantees everyone’s right to freedom of opinion and expression, including the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media without limits.

CFJ emphasizes solidarity with Issa and demands the cessation of her sentencing, considering it from an exceptional court (military court), and calls for an end to her targeting due to her opinions, advocating for her immediate unconditional release.

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