Media rights group slam arrest and beating of Tunisian journalists
Oct 29, 2009, 13:48 GMT
Paris - The media rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) protested Thursday the arrest and beating of two Tunisian journalists, allegedly because of their reports critical of the government in Tunis.
'The arrest of Taoufik ben Brik and the assault of Slim Boukhdhir represent unacceptable violations of the freedom of expression,' RSF said in a press statement.
Ben Brik was arrested early Thursday while responding to a summons for allegedly having assaulted a woman last week.
RSF charged that the assault on the woman had been 'fabricated by the authorities to harass the journalist, known for his articles critical' of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.'
On Wednesday, in the capital Tunis, Boukhdhir was abducted, blindfolded and beaten by five men two hours after being interviewed by the BBC.
In the interview, he had criticized the impossibility of independent journalists to work in Tunisia, the RSF said. He was finally released in a park, deprived of his possessions and suffering from a broken nose and bruises over his body.
Ben Ali was elected to a fifth presidential term on October 24, receiving nearly 90 per cent of the vote. Before the election he had publicly warned that anyone claiming the vote was rigged without furnishing proof would be prosecuted.
RSF charged that 'the regime's henchmen did not hesitate to carry out these threats.'