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Tunisian court sentences man to 7 years for posting cartoons of Prophet

June 26, 2012 - Tunis

A 30-year-old man was sentenced to seven years and a half in prison on Monday for posting cartoons criticizing the Prophet Mohamed on his facebook page, Tunisian media reported.

Jabeur Mejri was sentenced on charges of troubling public order, prejudice to a third party and contempt of morality. The verdict came after an appeals court in the town of Monastir upheld a sentence issued by a first instance tribunal on March 28.

A similar sentence was issued in absentia against another man, Ghazi Beji, who fled shortly before the sentence was issued.

Mejri's lawyer criticized the sentence, blaming it on " political interference." The case polarized conservative Muslims and secularists who argue that freedom of speech is in danger under the Islamic party Ennahdha's rule.

In May, a Tunisian court fined the director of Nessma, a private TV channel, 2,800 Tunisian dinars (about 1,500 U.S. dollars) for airing Persepolis, an animated Iranian film that Islamists say depicts the divine entity in derogatory manner.

Recently, a group of ultra conservative Muslims (Salafists) went on a rampage after an art gallery north of Tunis displayed works of arts which they considered as blasphemous. A 21-year-old man was killed in clashes between security forces and demonstrators who protesting the holding of the exhibition. (Xinhua-ANI)


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