December 14, 2023

Tunisian Activist Found Guilty of Insulting President

Chaima Issa, a Tunisian activist and opposition figure, received a one-year suspended prison sentence for offending Tunisia’s President, Kais Saied.

A military court in the country’s capital, Tunis, revealed its verdict on Wednesday, 13 December. According to reports, Issa was also found guilty of “spreading rumours to harm public security and inciting soldiers to disobey orders.”

Issa was arrested in February after she had spoken out on a local radio station about the failings of the authorities. At the time, she was arrested alongside 20 other political leaders as part of a government crackdown on dissenting figures.

“Chaima Issa should have been acquitted because all she did was to peacefully use her right to freedom of expression,” Samir Dilou, the lawyer representing Issa, told an international publication shortly after the ruling was announced.

Dilou later went on to express relief that Issa would at least remain free.

Several human rights groups – including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Issa’s party, The National Salvation Front and more – have all publicly denounced the verdict, with many pointing out that it was unreasonable for a military court to try a civilian.

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