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Friday, 23 August, 2002, 10:35 GMT 11:35 UK
Freed Tunisian reporter re-arrested
Tunis
Zouari was ordered to move away from Tunis
Civil rights campaigners have condemned the arrest of a Tunisian journalist who refused to comply with an order banishing him to the south of the country after he served 11 years in prison.

Abdallah Zouari was detained on Monday, after objecting to a decision ordering him to move to Khariba-Hassi, while his family lives in the capital, Tunis, government officials said.


It's a way of telling him: 'Don't move, don't speak, don't work'

Virginie Locussol, RSF
Mr Zouari, 46, who works for al-Fajr weekly, the official paper of the Ennahda Islamic movement, was released from prison on 6 June after being jailed in 1991 for belonging to the banned organisation.

Virginie Locussol, from the freedom of expression group Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF), told the BBC Mr Zouari was arrested under a pretence.

"I think it's a clear sign from the Tunisian authorities to put pressure on him and to prevent him from continuing his professional activities," she said.

"It's a way of telling him: 'Don't move, don't speak, don't work'."

'Abusive measures'

The RSF sent a letter of protest to the Tunisian Interior Minister, Hedi M'Henni, calling Mr Zouari's arrest "unacceptable".

Zine al Abidine ben Ali
Ben Ali is accused of repressing dissent

"The administrative measures taken by your department are totally abusive," the letter said.

"The arbitrary arrest of a man whose life has been ruined by more than 10 years in prison, is, quite simply, inhuman," the letter added.

The group called on the Tunisian Government to release Mr Zouari immediately.

Dissidents jailed

Mr Zouari, who was already jailed, was also tried along with the publisher of Al-Fajr, Hamadi Jebali, and 277 members of Ennahda, in August, 1992.

They were accused of plotting to overthrow the government of Tunisian President Zine al Abidine ben Ali.

Mr Jebali was sentenced to 16 years in prison for belonging to an illegal organisation and in connection with the alleged plot.

International human rights groups have criticised Tunisia for its harsh treatment of opponents of the government and its suppression of press freedom.

There are about 1,000 political prisoners in jail in Tunisia, many of them members of Ennahda, according to human rights group Amnesty International.

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03 May 01 | Americas
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