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Tunisia: Military court hands 7-year sentence to blogger and human rights defender Nasr Al-dine El-Halimi

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Press release

Geneva – March 14, 2024


Tunisian blogger and human rights defender Nasr Al-dine El-Halimi has been handed a controversial seven-year prison sentence by the Permanent Military Court of First Instance in Le Kef. The verdict, delivered on Thursday, March 7, 2024, has ignited widespread debate surrounding freedom of expression and judicial fairness in Tunisia.

El-Halimi was convicted of disseminating false news and rumors through various communication channels. The court found him guilty of allegedly defaming public officials, inciting hate speech, and jeopardizing public security, among other offenses.

The sentencing includes six years’ imprisonment for the charges above, with an additional year for actions deemed to undermine military discipline and respect for authority.

El-Halimi’s lawyer vehemently contested the ruling, highlighting his client’s detention for over a year and four months pending trial. The lawyer argued that El-Halimi’s critiques of military and governmental performance did not warrant such severe punishment and criticized the application of Decree No. 54, which has been criticized as a tool to stifle freedom of expression.

The Committee for Justice (CFJ) has denounced the verdict, citing concerns over the exceptional nature of the military court’s jurisdiction and the application of laws that inhibit freedom of opinion and expression. CFJ calls for the suspension of El-Halimi’s sentence and a retrial before a civilian court under standard legal procedures.

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