“Human Rights Watch” criticizes a two-year prison sentence for a Tunisian blogger who criticized the public prosecutor for not prosecuting a Tunisian imam who appeared in a video clip justifying the murder of someone who insulted the Prophet Muhammad.
The organization said Tuesday that the court of first instance in the capital, Tunis, on November 12, has sentenced blogger Wajdi al-Mahawashi to two years in prison for posting a video clip on Facebook on November 1, in which he Condemned the failure to hold the Imam responsible and to open an investigation with him. Which a judicial official considered offensive.
The video of the imam was released after the murder of a teacher, Samuel Patty, in a public school in France on October 16 by a Chechen refugee, after Patty showed cartoons of the Messenger Muhammad in class as part of a class on freedom Of expression. It seems that the video that the imam posted was later removed from Facebook.
In a Facebook post, al-Mahwashi criticized the public prosecutor for not investigating a lawsuit he filed in 2019 against police officers who he claims had beaten him.
Instead, the organization said the prosecutor accused al-Mahawashi of “accusing officials of crimes without providing evidence, insulting others through communication networks, defamation, and insulting a public official while performing his duties.” The charges are based on the Penal Code and the Communication Journal of 2001 in Tunisia.
Al-Mahawashi was arrested just one day after the video was released by members of the “Anti-Terrorism and Organized Crime Unit” in the Al-Khadra area and questioned for at least four hours in the presence of his lawyer, Mohammad Ali Bousheiba. .
According to Bosheba, al-Mahawashi told investigators that he was not targeting anyone with his post, and that he aimed to respond only to the video of the imam, with the sole purpose of condemning extremist ideas and terrorism.
Bouchiba added, “We are witnessing an increasing persecution, which reminds us of the wave of arrests and trials of bloggers and critics in social media in 2017. The negotiations have not actually stopped, but have slowed down, and now Come back to them. “
According to Human Rights Watch, since 2017, Tunisian courts have sentenced six social media activists to prison for the critical views they published, but “the two-year prison sentence for al-Mahawashi is the most severe so far against a blogger expressing his Criticism on the Internet, “according to Boucheiba.
Al-Mahawashi is currently serving his sentence in Maranaguya prison in the capital Tunis, and his lawyers plan to appeal the verdict.