Tunisian journalist detained for critical comments

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — A lawyer says a Tunisian journalist has been detained for questioning the government’s case against a TV cameraman who is in custody.

Journalist Zied el-Heni was detained Friday for allegedly defaming a civil servant by saying on the private Nessma TV channel that he has evidence that the case against the cameraman arrested for filming the egging of a minister was fabricated.

El-Heni’s lawer, Moufida Belghith, said the detention order was issued without hearing her client’s side of the story.

Since the uprising that overthrew Tunisia’s dictator, journalists have repeatedly run afoul of laws banning defamation of government employees.

In a statement Friday, Human Rights Watch criticized judicial authorities for using certain articles of the penal code to repress free speech, referring to cases against at least two other journalists.

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