The forced arrest of lawyer Sonia Dahmani, broadcast live on television

The forced arrest of lawyer Sonia Dahmani, broadcast live on television

Lawyer and writer Sonia Dahmani was arrested on Saturday, May 11, in Tunis, after making sarcastic statements about the situation in the country, a scene that was filmed by France 24, which was forced to stop broadcasting live.

On Saturday evening, May 11, security forces stormed the lawyer’s home in Tunis and arrested lawyer and writer Sonia Dahmani after she made sarcastic statements about the situation in the country, a scene filmed by France 24, which forced her to put an end to her life. Broadcasting.

Dalila Mosaddeq, a member of his defense team, said on her Facebook page, “Police officers assaulted the Lawyers’ House opposite the Tunis Court, and “lawyers assaulted our colleague Sonia Dahmani and kidnapped her (taking her) to an unknown destination.”

Islam Hamza, another defender of the lawyer, confirmed that “the police officers arrested Ms. Al-Dahmani.”

The constant news channel France 24, whose journalists were on site covering the movement in support of the lawyer, was live on the air at the time of the arrest. In a press statement, she strongly protested against the stance of the masked policemen who, according to her, “then went towards the channel team and asked them to turn off the camera, amid strong protests from journalist Marlene Dumas at the site.”

The channel, which broadcast the pictures, added, “The police violently tore the camera from its holder, stopped the live broadcast of the scene, and arrested Hamdi Al-Talili. The photographer was released after about ten minutes, and the France 24 correspondent is fine.” Scene on X.

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France 24 “strongly condemns this restriction on freedom of the press and this brutal intervention and intimidation by the police to prevent its journalists from practicing their profession, while they were covering a demonstration by lawyers to respect justice and support freedom of expression.” He added.

“This is just another arrest in the ranks of people who are openly critical of the regime,” says Hatem Nafti, a French-Tunisian writer, who was a guest on BFMTV on Sunday, May 12.

“It is clearly a desire to silence all criticism, to intimidate people, and to say: If you object, this is what will happen to you!”

Charged with spreading “false information”

According to media reports, Sonia Al-Dahmani is specifically under investigation on charges of publishing “false information with the aim of harming public safety” and “incitement to hate speech,” under Decree Law No. 54.

This decree, issued by President Kais Saied in September 2022, punishes with up to five years in prison anyone who uses information and communications networks to “write, produce, broadcast (or) disseminate false news (…) with the aim of violating human rights.” rights of others or harm public safety.”

On Tuesday, during a television programme, Sonia Dahmani asked a ridiculous question entitled “What exceptional country are we talking about?”, in response to another columnist who had just reported that migrants from several countries of sub-Saharan Africa were seeking to settle in Tunisia. Some users on social media considered this statement “insulting” to Tunisia’s image.

On Thursday, Sonia Al-Dahmani received a summons, which she did not respond to, to appear on Friday before the investigating judge without specifying the reasons, according to Mosaddeq. The lawyer and journalist explained that she refused to appear before the court “without knowing the reasons for this summons.” Due to his absence, the investigating judge in charge of this case issued an arrest warrant for him.

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Within a year and a half, more than 60 people, including journalists, lawyers, and opponents of Kais Saied, were prosecuted on the basis of this text, according to the National Syndicate of Journalists.

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