Seven organisations and associations have expressed concern over the prison sentence imposed on a blogger following a complaint filed by the Minister of Relations with the Constitutional Authorities, Civil Society and Human Rights Mehdi Ben Gharbia.
In a joint statement released Saturday, these NGOs said the Bizerte Court of First Instance handed, on April 17, an 8-month prison sentence and a fine of 120 dinars against blogger Mohamed Hammami in a lawsuit by Ben Gharbia.
This decision constitutes a new violation of the achievements of January 2011 in the field of fundamental freedoms, first and foremost, freedom of expression, according to the signatories.
Continuing to apply Article 128 of the Penal Code in place of Legislative Decree 115, which puts an end to custodial sentences, aims to circumvent these gains and revive with Tunisians the politics of fear, as is the case in most Arab countries, according to the same source.
The organisations express the wish that a dismissal will be pronounced on appeal and that the executive, legislative and judicial powers assume their responsibilities in the protection of the gains made in Tunisia in the field of human rights.
The signatories of this joint statement are the Tunisian Association for the Defence of University Values, the Tunisian League of Human Rights, the Committee for the Respect of Human Rights and Freedoms in Tunisia, the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights, the Organisation against Torture in Tunisia, the Association Vigilance for Democracy and Civil Status and the Tunis Centre for Freedom of Press.