Tunisian court puts off controversial editor’s trial to March 8

February 23, 2012

A Tunisian court on Thursday allowed an editor arrested for publishing a controversial photograph on the front page of his newspaper to go home, pending its verdict on March 8.

Nasr Al Deen Bin Saida was under arrest after Ettounsia published the picture of Sami Khedira, a German national of Tunisian origin who plays for powerhouse Real Madrid, holding his naked model girlfriend in a risqué pose.

The photograph, first published in the German edition of GQ magazine, sparked furore in the country where the media law is very strict about “attacks on local morals and values.”

Habib Guizani, the managing editor of the newspaper, and Mohammad Hadi Al Haidari, international news editor, were arrested along Bin Saida, but were released on February 16.

Liberals have condemned the arrests, saying that they were an abuse of the freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution. International organisations, including the Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists, pressed for the release of the publisher.

However, several Tunisian groups have called for stringent action against Bin Saidi and his newspaper for their “flagrant attack on the people’s values and morals.”

A local radio said that the judge could not start the trial in the massive presence of lawyers and people and had to ask the large crowd that filled the court to leave the premises.

Bin Saida faces up to five years in prison.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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