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Tunisia: Student Jailed for Media Interview

Tunisian student Mohamed Soudani, 24, disappeared on October 22, 2009, in Tunisia after giving interviews to Radio Monte Carlo International and Radio France International.

Soudani was missing for 18 days until Tunisia’s police contacted his family inform them that he is detained in the Murnaguiya prison about 15km away from the capital Tunis.

According to sources, the police also informed Soudani’s family that he was put on trial and convicted for “disorderly conduct” during his detention without legal counsel and was sentenced to four months in prison. They also learned that he had since appealed his sentence.

During his court appearance on December 6, Soudani denied the charges filed against him and stated that he was tortured aggressively during his extrajudicial detention. His lawyers asked for a recess to study the case and his release on bail. The release request was denied while his trial was adjourned to December 14, 2009.

Soudani was interviewed about his past activities as a student leader in the General Union of the Students of Tunisia. He was involved last year in a 56-day hunger strike with another four students demanding their right to go back to school. They have also blogged about their hunger strike experience day by day on a blog which had been censored in Tunisia.

A Facebook group and a blog have been created to support Mohamed Soudani in the hardships he is experiencing.

Nasser Weddady contributed to this post.

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