Five More Relatives of Tunisian Journalist Join Hunger Strike
Five more brothers and sisters of Tunisian journalist Taoufik Ben Brick joined him on hunger strike over press liberty in Tunisia from Monday, his sister Najet said in a statement released in Paris Sunday.
Najet Zoghlami made the announcement in a statement issued by the French human rights group Reporters Without Borders.
Najet and her four brothers and sisters will join Ben Brick on hunger strike in solidarity. Another brother, Jelal Zoghlami, had already joined the hunger strike earlier Sunday from his prison cell.
Taoufik Ben Brick is a pen name: Taoufik's true surname is Zoghlami.
Jelal was arrested last Wednesday with three others after a scuffle between police officers and members of the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders, along with three French journalists.
He appeared in court on Saturday on charges of assaulting police officers and unlawful gathering on a public highway, and is due to receive a verdict on Wednesday.
Taoufik Ben Brick, 39, began his hunger strike on April 3 to protest what he described as harassment of his family, as well as travel and work restrictions imposed on him by a judge.
He has been confined to bed since falling ill on Friday, and has been prescribed medicine by his doctors, who are reportedly fearful that he may soon suffer heart trouble.
The Tunis correspondent of the French newspaper La Croix and two European news agencies, he is under investigation for writing in the foreign press about human rights in Tunisia.
He could receive a possible six-year sentence on charges of spreading false information likely to disturb public order and for defamation.
A judge questioning Ben Brick about two articles he wrote for foreign publications has barred him from leaving the country.
Najet Zoghlami said they were joining the hunger strike after their mother visited Ben Brick in Tunis. She had called on them to join the hunger strike from Monday.
The only members of the family who will not take part in the protest are the mother and the oldest brother, who will continue to support his brothers and sisters.
The family is calling on the Tunisian authorities to release Jelal, allow Ben Brick freely to pursue his work as a journalist and to reopen the publishing house where he started his hunger strike. It was closed a week into the protest, on April 10.
They also want the government to cover the medical costs of a group of human rights activists who they say were badly beaten last week, during a protest – PARIS (AFP).
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)