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Page last updated at 17:41 GMT, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 18:41 UK

Tunisia dissident reporter Ben Brik leaves prison

Taoufik Ben Brik after his release from prison, 27 April 2010
Taoufik Ben Brik shared a cell with 20 other prisoners during his jail term

A dissident Tunisian journalist has been released from prison after serving a six-month sentence for assault.

Taoufik Ben Brik, a prominent critic of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, has always claimed his conviction was politically motivated.

After his release, Mr Ben Brik told the BBC he would continue to speak out against the president.

Mr Ben Ali has been in power for 23 years and tolerates little dissent, but officials deny Mr Ben Brik was framed.

Mr Ben Brik - who is known for his satirical criticism in the French press of President Ben Ali - told the BBC that he will write about his experiences in prison, as well as the events leading to his arrest, regardless of what the president's reaction might be.

"Ben Ali will not stop," he said. "I think if I continue to write, he is capable of shooting me."

The journalist described his six months in the "prehistoric" Siliana prison in northwest Tunisia.

In November 2009, he was sentenced for assaulting a businesswoman in public.

He shared a cell with 20 other prisoners and the food was not fit for "dogs" or "rats", he explained.

Mr Ben Brik insisted he would attend World Press Freedom Day in Paris on 3 May.

The French government expressed concerns over his arrest and Amnesty International described him as a "prisoner of conscience" and condemned his sentence.



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