Tunisian Reporter Ends 42-Day Hunger Strike

Published May 16th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Tunisian journalist Taoufik Ben Brick, who arrived in France two weeks ago after protesting against alleged harassment in Tunisia, said on Monday he had ended a 42-day hunger strike.  

“I feel well,” Ben Brick told Reuters, speaking from the Paris hospital where he has been under observation since his arrival in France.  

The 39-year old reporter started refusing food in Tunisia to protest at the seizure of his passport.  

His papers were eventually returned and Tunisian authorities dropped charges that he had defamed the country's institutions in articles critical of the government.  

But, much to the anger of the French government, he decided to continue his protest in Paris to highlight the plight of his brother, Jelal, who was jailed for three months in early May for allegedly assaulting police.  

A Tunisian appeals court set Jelal free on Monday, shortly after his brother ended his hunger strike. Ben Brick said he had not known that this was going to happen when he decided to start taking food again.  

A ruling is expected later this week on whether the sentence will be suspended or whether the journalist will be acquitted entirely, said BBC.online.  

Ben Brick, a correspondent in Tunisia for the French daily La Croix, said he wanted to return to Tunis in time to cover municipal elections on May 28.  

“I do not want to live in exile. That would be unthinkable. To live outside Tunisia would be like asking Fellini to make films in America. I have never spent more than a month out of Tunisia,” he said.  

Ben Brick had hoped to end his hunger strike in Algeria last week, but Algerian authorities barred him entry to the country – (Several Sources)  



© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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