Tuesday, May 03, 2005

UN Information Society Summit Host Tunisia Jails Net Author

The UN's second World Summit on the Information Society will be held in Tunisia in November this year. The Declaration of the first summit in Geneva recognized human rights as a fundament of the information society, stating that technology should be used to protect freedom of speech. It is more than a little ironic then that it is Tunisia that has just jailed a lawyer and internet author, Mohammed Abbou, apparently for being critical of Tunisian politics and prison regime and an assault charge that was added a few days before sentencing and apparently lacks concrete evidence:
Abbou was sentenced to two years in prison for allegedly attacking a woman lawyer at a conference in 2002 and 18 months for an August 2004 commentary posted on the Tunisnews website that compared US torture in Iraq to the treatment of prisoners in Tunisian jails.

He had also posted an article on the same website in February 2005 which criticised Tunisian president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali for inviting Israeli premier Ariel Sharon to Tunis for the summit. It is this largely ironic article that is regarded as the real reason for his arrest and jailing.
The irony is now with the UN, for choosing a regime that does not fear (internet) censorship as the cradle for proclaimed, future internet freedom.
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Le comité de soutien de Me Mohammed Abbou [French]


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