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Tunisian journalist jailed for assault

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Tunisian journalist jailed for assault

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A wave of international criticism has greeted the news that a Tunisian journalist has been jailed for six months for assaulting a woman. Press freedom groups say Taoufik ben Brik was tried on trumped up charges to punish him for criticising President Zine al-Abidine ben Ali. The 49-year-old reporter was arrested after a woman motorist claimed he had assaulted her and damaged her car during an argument.

The case took on an international dimension after French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner expressed his concerns. Human rights’ campaigners accuse Tunisia of using the police and the courts to stifle free speech and of strangling legitimate criticism of the state.