07 July 2010
IFJ Condemns Tunisian Court Rejection of Journalist Appeal
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned a Tunisian court’s decision to uphold the conviction and four year prison sentence for Fahem Boukaddous for "forming a criminal association liable to attack persons".
Boukaddous was charged after covering public demonstrations against unemployment and corruption in the mining region of Gafsa in 2008 for satellite channel ‘Tunisian Dialogue’.
“Fahem’s conviction was a gross miscarriage of justice, which this court has refused to correct,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “He has been victimised by a government that is intolerant of criticism and dissent.”
Boukaddous was unable to attend the trial as he was admitted to hospital for treatment to a severe asthma condition. According to Ridha Raddaoui, his lawyer, the court refused to allow the defence team to present their case.
Boukaddous was first convicted on 13th January 2010 after several months in hiding while his co-accused were first sentenced to four years and then later released on a presidential pardon.
The IFJ condemned the ruling and accused the Tunisian authorities of waging a campaign of vilification and intimidation targeting independent journalists, including such means as arbitrary arrests and sham trials.
Representatives from the Syndicat National des Journalistes Tunisiens (SNJT) attended the previous trials on behalf of the IFJ and the Federation of Africa Journalists where they strongly condemned the verdict.
The IFJ is particularly concerned that Boukaddous would not survive a prison term given the critical state of his health and his urgent need for proper medical care.
For more information contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide