The country where Internet users are tortured

first_img Receive email alerts December 14, 2004 – Updated on January 20, 2016 The country where Internet users are tortured News November 12, 2019 Find out more RSF_en Follow the news on Tunisia November 11, 2020 Find out more Help by sharing this information Reporters Without Borders voiced outrage today at the Tunisian court of cassation’s 8 December decision to uphold the heavy prison sentences passed on eight Internet users from the southern city of Zarzis and reiterated its condemnation of the mistreatment they have received in detention. They were convicted of using the Internet to promote terrorism on the basis of confessions obtained under torture and some downloaded files.Reporters Without Borders said it hoped the organizers of the World Summit on the Information Society were aware of the “cruel irony” that the next summit’s venue in November 2005 – Tunis – was in “a country where you can be imprisoned and tortured just for looking at a website.”The court of cassation upheld their conviction although their trial was marked by serious irregularities. The prosecution submitted print-outs of webpages about automatic firearms and time bombs supposedly visited by the defendants, but did not say where they came from or when they were visited. The court refused to consider the defendants’ claims that they were tortured. Attorney Nadia Nasraoui, a member of the Association for Combatting Torture in Tunisia (ALTT), said the court of cassation’s decision was not surprising. “So far as political trials go, it is extremely rare for the court of cassation to overturn a decision taken by the appeal court,” she said.The Zarzis Internet users, who are nearly all in their early 20s, are being held in cells with many other detainees, where they have to sleep on the ground. Some of them, especially Amor Farouk Chlendi, have scabies and other skin ailments. An ALTT report says they were tortured for the first 10 days after their arrest in February 2003. They were suspended by the ankles for hours and beaten. Some of them were beaten on the soles of their feet, a torture known as “falaqua.”BackgroundSentences of 13 years in prison were imposed by an appeal court on 6 July on Hamza Mahrouk, 21, Amor Farouk Chelandi, 21, who has a French mother, Amor Rached, 21, Abdel-Ghaffar Guiza, 21, Aymen Mecharek, 22, who has German as well as Tunisian citizenship, and Ridha Hadj Brahim, 38. The appeal court also upheld the 26-year sentences previously passed on two defendants who were convicted in absentia: Ayoub Sfaxi, 21, who is living in France, and Tahar Guemir, 20, who has Swedish and Tunisian citizenship and who lives in Sweden. The ninth member of the group, Abderrazak Bourguiba 19, who was tried by a court for minors as he was only 17 at the time, received a 24-month sentence on appeal on 7 July.They were all accused of belonging to a terrorist group linked to Al-Qaeda although no evidence was ever presented in support of this claim. Their use of the Internet was the pretext for their conviction. Forum on Information and Democracy 250 recommendations on how to stop “infodemics” News Eleven organizations from civil society create the Forum on Information & Democracy, a structural response to information disorder Organisation Tunisia : RSF asks Tunisian president’s office to respect journalists TunisiaMiddle East – North Africa News Reporters Without Borders voiced outrage today at the Tunisian court of cassation’s 8 December decision to uphold the heavy prison sentences passed on eight Internet users from the southern city of Zarzis and reiterated its condemnation of the mistreatment they have received in detention. December 26, 2019 Find out more News to go further TunisiaMiddle East – North Africa last_img read more