Ben Brick Hits out at Europeans over Tunisia
Tunisian journalist Taoufik Ben Brick, recovering from a six-week hunger strike, accused the European Union on Tuesday of shielding President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
"Europe, and all that it represents in political power, is not on the side of militant Tunisia," Ben Brick told a press conference at the European parliament in Strasbourg.
"It was always a shield for Ben Ali, and for whitewashing his acts," he said. "It is (the EU member states) who have guarded him ... and to whom he owes his 13-year reign," he said.
Ben Brick spoke a day after an appeals court in Tunis freed his brother Jelal Zoghlami pending a ruling Thursday on his three-month jail sentence for clashing with police over press rights.
Ben Brick began a hunger strike on April 3 to protest harassment by Tunisian authorities over articles he published in Europe critical of human rights in his North African homeland.
He arrived in Paris on May 4 after Tunis agreed to several of his demands, including the restoration of his passport, but pursued his hunger strike pending his brother's appeal court appearance.
He intends to return home May 28 to cover municipal elections.
While faulting Europeans for not opposing Ben Ali's government, Ben Brick said he preferred that they stick to the sidelines and let Tunisians resolve their own political disputes.
"I only have one request for the European parliament: let us fight along against Ben Ali," he said.
"At least, be neutral... We don't need you. We have our true friends and allies: international organizations and the redoubtable media shield that is the international press."
Coincidental to Ben Brick's visit, Green and neo-communist Euro MPs tried Tuesday to squeeze Tunisia onto Thursday's list of emergency human rights resolutions, but their bid was rejected by a 166-109 vote - (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)