Stakes Raised in Tunisia as Brother Joins Hunger Strike
The standoff between Tunisian journalist Twafiq Bin Brick and the country's authorities has hardened after the reporter's brother announced he would join Tawfik Ben Brick's month-long hunger strike.
Ben Brick began his hunger strike on April 3 in protest against harassment of his family, and against travel and work restrictions imposed on him by a magistrate investigating articles he wrote on human rights in Tunisia.
Hopes that the journalist could be persuaded to abandon his action were dashed by the announcement of brother Jelal Ben Brick's decision to begin an indefinite hunger strike from his prison cell.
Jelal Ben Brick appeared in court Saturday on charges of assaulting police officers and unlawful gathering on a public highway, and is due to receive a verdict on May 3.
He had been arrested 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.
The skirmish broke out as the delegation was confronted by Tunisian police outside the hunger striker's flat, and came on the same day that Tawfik Ben Brick announced that he had abandoned his protest.
Ben Brick Awarded Algerian Press Freedom Prize
The Algerian newspaper El Khabar has awarded a press freedom prize to hunger-striking Ben Brick, the paper said Saturday, citing his "courageous positions."
The Omar Ourtilane prize, named after El Khabar journalist who was killed in Algeria in 1995, recognizes journalists "who contribute through their writing and their positions to the promotion of freedom of expression," the Arabic-language daily said in a communiqué –(AFP)
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