Tunisia: Protest to Free a Government Critic

This post is part of our special coverage Tunisia Revolution 2011.

Protesters took to the streets in the Tunisian capital Tunis yesterday, calling for the immediate release of Samir Feriani, who openly criticized the Interior Ministry. Feriani has been in custody since May 29, 2011.

He was arrested after he published two letters in Al-Khabeer (The Expert) magazine, claiming that those holding key positions in the Interior Ministry are responsible for the murder of protesters during the revolution and that highly classified documents involving the former president with the Israeli Mossad had been intentionally destroyed.

Feriani is accused of “harming the external security of the state,” “releasing and distributing information likely to harm public order,” and “accusing, without proof, a public agent of violating the law.” His case has been transferred to a military court.

Photo by Facebook page "Tous Uni avec Samir Feriani" (All United with Samir Feriani).

Photo by Facebook page "Tous Uni avec Samir Feriani" (All United with Samir Feriani).

On June 9, Human Rights Watch released a statement asking Tunisian authorities for the immediate release of Feriani. “Tunisian authorities should free the police officer Samir Feriani from military detention and drop any charges that are based solely on his whistle-blowing efforts and transfer any other charges to a civilian court,” says the organization.

The protest did not witness any clashes with security forces though it took place near the Interior Ministry. The following video shows dozens of protesters marching down Hbib Bourguiba Avenue, holding photos of Samir Feriani, chanting “the Interior Ministry is a terrorist Ministry,” and “people demand the fall of Hbib Essid [the Interior Minister]”.

Ben Jebara (@benjebara) tweets:

Selon MFM, dans la manif pour la libération de Samir Feriani, on demande aussi la démission du MI.

According to MFM (Radio MosaiqueFM), protesters calling for the liberation of Samir Feriani are also calling for the resignation of the Interior Ministry

Kais Berrjab (@ostezedgar) adds:

مسيرة سلمية تضامنا مع سمير الفرياني http://t.co/GmgAsJK #Tunis : manif pacifique en soutient au haut commissaire de police samir feriani

a peaceful protest in support of a high police officer Samir Feriani
Photo by TunAnonymousNetwork

Photo by TunAnonymousNetwork

On its Tunisian Facebook page, Anonymous issued a statement to the Tunisian government:


Dear leaders of the Tunisian government,
dear leaders of the Tunisian police.

Hello. We are anonymous. You know us.

It has come to our attention that one of your police officers, Mister Samir Feriani, has been arrested and is detained because he intended to denounce the destruction of important secret archives on Ben Ali's regime.We, Anonymous, consider that all the truth has to be known about Ben Ali's regime. Those who have been tortured under Ben Ali want to know the truth. Their families want to know the truth. Their friends, their neighbors, their coworkers, want to know the truth. The people of Tunisia want to know the truth about Ben Ali's regime. It is your duty to respect the Sate archives, because the State archives are the political memory of the people of Tunisia. Your duty, your MISSION, is to protect them – not to destroy them and arrest people who try to stop you.

We, Anonymous, consider that Mister Samir Feriani has acted in the name of transparency. If they want a better future, the people of Tunisia have to know where they come from. They have to know why they are poor and anxious. They have to know every detail of Ben Ali's system of fear, economical rape, and voyeur censorship. They want to know why they have suffered and why they still suffer.

A very respectable and influent international NGO, Human Rights Watch, has declared that you have to free Samir Feriani immediately. We, Anonymous, agree with Human Rights Watch, and we join the campaign: we propose that, in order to prove that you want to protect fundamental rights in Tunisia, you free Mister Samir Feriani today. Please realize that more and more associations, groups and activists will join Human Rights Watch and Anonymous in the next days if you do not follow our advice.

You know us.
We are Anonymous.
We are legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Expect us.

This post is part of our special coverage Tunisia Revolution 2011.


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