Tunisia: Artist Jailed for Criticizing President: Rached Tamboura

In January 2024, the Monastir court of appeals in Tunisia sentenced artist Rached Tamboura to two years in prison simply for painting a series of graffiti denouncing President Kais Saied’s racist comments against sub-Saharan migrants, in violation of his right to freedom of expression. Police forces arrested Rached Tamboura late during the night between 17 and 18 July 2023, a few hours after he painted the third graffiti. On 4 December 2023, the Monastir Court of First Instance convicted and sentenced him to two years in prison on bogus charges of “committing an offensive act against the president” and “producing and promoting false news with the aim of infringing on the rights of others, harming public security or national defence, or spreading terror among the population” under Article 67 of the penal code and Article 24 of Decree Law 54 respectively. He is currently imprisoned in the Zaghouan prison. Tunisian authorities must immediately release Rached Tamboura and quash his conviction and sentence as it is based solely on the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression.

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