WJWC expresses solidarity with Tunisian activist Myriam Bribri and calls for dropping pseudo-charges against her
On October 12, 2022, a court of appeal in Tunisia is set to rule on the case of the activist Myriam Bribri subject to four-month prison sentence issued on December 21, 2021, for a Facebook comment criticizing the abuses by the security services.
The Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC) has commented that the blogger and anti- impunity activist Myriam Bribri has spent two years in the courts just for exercising the right to freedom of opinion and expression guaranteed by both domestic and international laws by exposing the security services' violations against citizens.
The WJWC has strongly condemned this violation against activist Myriam Bribri, noting that fear and anxiety are hanging over the land of freedom and the cradle of the modern Arab revolutions, Tunisia, due to the machinery of detention and notorious laws the Tunisian regime seeks to impose on the Tunisian people in clear violation of their right to freedom of opinion and expression, and freedom of the press, which is a deliberate undermining of the Jasmine Revolution’s gains.
The human rights advocate has also emphasized that the Bribri case unequivocally reflects the dominant influence of fear on the climate of press freedom in Tunisia, which encourages criminals to escape punishment, thus posing threat to the future of press freedom and journalists.
Arbitrary arrests and trials, the WJWC added, evidence that the Tunisian authorities get upset by talking about the structural problems in the police and security services that have come to serve as a tool to impose a new dictatorship in the country.
For her part, the WJWC founder, Tawakkol Karman, has commented: "The court should immediately drop the charges against Myriam Bribri, refrain from demonizing Tunisian activists and journalists, and instead begin prosecuting real culprits attacking Bribri."
“The Tunisian authorities have not yet started holding the police accountable for their crimes and reforming the security services. Instead, they perform a farce aimed at covering up the crimes by the security services, dragging activists and journalists to courts, where they waste years of their life trying to defend themselves,” Karman added.
*Myriam Bribri is a blogger and human rights advocate who has participated in many youth-led protest activities against laws restricting freedom of expression.
In October 2020, she shared a video showing a security officer in the city of Nabeul assaulting on a civilian, and criticized the use of violence by security forces against civilians.
The court ruling was based on article 86 of Tunisia’s 2001 Code of Telecommunications, according to which a prison sentence of one to two years and a fine are imposed on anyone “knowingly harming or disturbing others via public telecommunications networks.”
On December 21, 2021, the Court of First Instance of Sfax, in southeastern Tunisia, sentenced Bribri to four months in prison and a fine of 500 dinars, on charges of “harming and disturbing others via public telecommunications networks.”
The Tunisian activist and human rights defender has been harassed by security officers and members of their union over the case, and received threats from them. On 22 December 2021, her lawyer started an appeal against the conviction.
On September 28, 2022, the Sfax Court of Appeal decided, following the end of the lawyers' arguments, to delay the pronouncement of the verdict until October 12.
Women Journalists Without Chains
October 8, 2022