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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 18:42 GMT
Tunisian internet crackdown
President Ben Ali's government tightly controls the internet
President Ben Ali's government tightly controls the internet
Twenty young men, many of them students, have been arrested in Tunisia for looking at banned websites.

The Tunisian Government is believed to censor the internet more tightly than any other country in the world, with the possible exception of China.

A lawyer for the men, told the French news agency AFP that they are suspected of carrying out subversive activities on the internet.

He said during their arrest last week in the southern coastal city of Zarsis, the police found and confiscated computer equipment used by the men.


The International Association for Support of Political Prisoners said police were interrogating the men in the capital, Tunis, and refusing family visits.

Lawyers say the arrested men browsed sites including one from the banned Tunisian Islamist Nahda party.

Tunisan President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali's government tightly controls the media.

It jailed its first internet dissident last year for disseminating "false information" on the web.

Zouhair Yahyaoui, the founder of satirical website, www.tunezine.com, which gave a space for opposition groups and politicians to air their views, was sentenced to two years in prison.



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