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Tunisia: Whistleblower Samir Feriani Set Free

On September 22, a military court in Tunis temporarily released whistle blower Samir Feraini who had been in detention since May 29, 2011, after criticising the Tunisian Interior Ministry.

A few days before his arrest, Mr Feriani, a former senior official at the Interior Ministry, published two letters in the magazine Al-Khabeer [Ar] (The Expert) where he claimed that people holding key positions in the Interior Ministry were responsible for the killing of peaceful protesters during the Tunisian Revolution. He also claimed that classified documents showing collaboration between ousted Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Israel's secret service, the Mossad, were intentionally destroyed by officials in the ministry.

Samir Ferian. Photo by Yassine Gaidi via Facebook Page "Tous Uni Avec Samir Feriani"

Samir Ferian. Photo by Yassine Gaidi via Facebook Page "Tous Uni Avec Samir Feriani"

The public sympathised with Feriani and he was often described as the first “Prisoner of Conscience” in the post revolutionary Tunisia. Ever since his arrest, protests were staged and online campaigns were organised to demand his immediate release.

The public reacted positively to the news of the release of Mr Feriani. Here are some reactions on Twitter.

@yezzifokk:Keep the faith : Feriani is Free #freeferiani #tunisia

@emnamejri:je suis très contente mm si une liberté provisoire mais c un bon signe #FreeFeriani

@emnamejri: I'm so happy. This is a good sign though it's a temporarily release

@omessaoud:La libération même provisoire de Samir #FERIANI est une excellente nouvelle #FreeFeriani

@omessaoud: The release, though temporarily of Samir Feriani is good news

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. On September 29, the Military Court of Tunis will issue a verdict on his case.

Liliopatra writes:

Moment extraordinaire, le juge a prononcé la libération de Samir Feriani …mais attention ce n'est qu'une liberté PROVISOIRE ;le procès a été reporté au jeudi prochain 29 septembre 2011. […] Après 117 jours de détention à la caserne militaire de l'Aouina, Samir retrouve enfin sa famille, ses enfants, sa femme, ses proches et surtout sa mère qui a fondu le coeur de tous les braves tunisiens…

An extraordinary moment, the judge freed Samir Feriani…but watch out it's only temporarily, the trial was postponed to next Thursday, September, 29. […] After 117 days of detention at the military barracks of Laouina, Samir is finally reunited with his family, his children, his wife, and his mother with whom all brave Tunisians sympathised…

It remains, however, unclear why Mr Feriani had to spend more than three months in detention. Sameh raises this question

سمير علاش قعد في الحبس المدّة هذيكا الكلّ ياخي القانون اللي سمحلو يخرج اليوم ما كانس يسمح باش يخرجو البارح؟
Why did Samir spend all this time in prison? So the law that set him free today, couldn't that have happened yesterday?

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