The decision by a military court to continue the detention of Tunisian blogger Yassine Ayari is a gross violation of the right to freedom of expression, said Amnesty International as his re-trial started today.
The organization called for his immediate release from prison, and for his conviction on charges that he had “defamed the army” in a series of Facebook posts to be quashed. Yassine Ayari was sentenced to three years in jail last November.
“It is unacceptable that Yassine Ayari has been imprisoned for criticizing state officials. As a civilian, he should never have been tried by a military court and he should be released immediately,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
“Tunisia’s new parliament, elected two months ago, should make it a priority to repeal laws that make defaming state officials and institutions a criminal offense, and that allow civilians to be tried by military courts.”