Cairo: — The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) today denounced the unfair sentence issued by Hammamet Court last Thursday, December 5. The court ordered to jail Tunisian rapper "Alaa Yacob" for 4 months over the charge of insulting the police and violating ethics particularly after a song he had performed in a party last August.
Rapper Alaa Yacob, who performs under the name of "Weld 15", and rapper Ahmed Ben Ahmed, who is known as "Klay", had a live party in Hammamet on 23 August. They had been accused of threatening police officers. As a consequence, the court there considered a lawsuit that was filed against them; accusing the rappers with outage of modesty and public slander. During the hearing, on 29 August, the court sentenced the two rappers to imprisonment for a year and nine months in absentia. Rapper "Klay" has appealed the verdict and then he was acquitted, while "Weld 15" was given 4-month in prison sentence and he was detained immediately after pronouncing the verdict. However, his lawyer will appeal the verdict.
It is reported that rapper "Alaa Yacob" has faced accusations many times against the backdrop of his songs. The Appeal Court in the capital of Tunis carried him six-month suspended sentence last July, while it overturned the default judgment against him over a song against the security bodies entitled "police are dogs" that deemed an insult to public servants.
"Tunisian authorities should accept the criticism of rappers through their songs. They should suspend the prosecution of rappers and the criminal trials in light of their peaceful opinions. Such practices make us deeply concerned over the future of freedom of expression in Tunisia as well as the absence of the political will in order to reform this file, following those attacks that continued for years under the rule of autocratic Ben Ali", said ANHRI
ANHRI calls for releasing rapper "Weld 15" as well as dropping all these false accusations against him. It also calls on authorities to suspend the prosecution of rappers and to allow them perform in a safe climate.