On Monday June 25th, 2012, the Court of Appeal of Monastir has confirmed the verdict of the Court of First Instance of Al-Mahdia sentencing both online bloggers Jabeur Mejri and Ghazi Béji to seven and a half years of prison. Ghazi who was constrained to quit the country to Europe seeking political asylum was sentenced in abstencia.
Pursuant to the accusations made by citizens regarding some writings and photos published by the two activists allegedly “affecting and causing them severe moral prejudice,” the court based its judgment upon the third paragraph of Articles 121 and 226 from the Penal Code and the law 81 from the Telecommunication Journal.
The aforementioned articles used to be the means that the Ben Ali regime used to settle its accounts with his political opponents.
Moreover, the court had refused to grant the defense their request to conduct a psychiatric examination to Jabeur Mejri. The defense has also confirm that the circumstances of the investigation and the interrogation of the defendant do not meet the standards of a fair trial as guaranteed by the international convenant on Civil and Political Rights which was ratified by Tunisia.
Currently, the prisoner of conscience Jabeur Mejri faces real threats endangering his physical integrity; while the security and the civil rights of Ghazi Beji in the host country are not insured.
Thereby, we, Tunisian citizens, activists and human rights militants, consider that this judgment unfair and against international standards and International human rights law especially in a country that claims to have completely broken with the practices of the old regime that has, for a long time, denied people their right to freedom of thought and of expression.
We demand the suspension of this unfair trial that aims at persecuting Jabeur Mejri and Ghazi Beji for the simple reason of having posted their views on their own personal page on Facebook.
We demand the immediate release of Jabeur Mejri and the suspension of the ongoing proceedings against Ghazi Beji.
We hold the judicial power responsible for the physical and moral safety of Jabeur Mejri behind bars and we invite the deputies of the Constituent Assembly as well as the President of the Republic of Tunisia as well as the Tunisian government and in particular the Ministry of Human Rights and Transitional Justice not to turn a blind eye to these human rights violations.
The support Committee of the prisoners of conscience Jabeur Mejri and Ghazi Beji.