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    Tunisian editor charged

    Omar Mestiri, editor of the on-line journal Kalima is to appear in court in on defamation charges.

    Tunis - The charges arise from an article
    http://www.kalimatunisie.com/article.php?id=289 published on September 5, 2006 in Kalima which gave information about the surprising rehabilitation of Baccar, a lawyer close to those in power, who was disbarred for having been convicted on several counts of perjury and fraud.

    Mestiri was first questioned on March 29 by the public prosecutor, whose line of interrogation was focused on the identity of the sources who gave him information about the rehabilitation, and not on the veracity of the supposedly defamatory facts reported in the article, which are very familiar to the Tunisian public.

    What most concerned the prosecutor was how Omar Mestiri was able to learn about the rehabilitation, about which the authorities had been very discreet. Omar Mestiri refused to answer, on the basis of his right as a journalist to protect his sources. Mestiri's lawyers have raised questions about the judicial basis for his prosecution, given that Kalima is blocked in Tunisia and the publication could not therefore have caused harm in Tunisia.

    Mestiri faces a sentence of one to three years in prison if convicted.

    Source: IFEX

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