Attempt by the government to silence its critics

Tunisian TV boss freed after a year in prison

GMT 07:49 2013 Thursday ,12 September

Arab Today, arab today Tunisian TV boss freed after a year in prison

Chief of Tunisian TV channel Ettounsiya Sami Fehri (R) hugs his wife
Tunis - Arab Today

Chief of Tunisian TV channel Ettounsiya Sami Fehri (R) hugs his wife Tunisian television chief Sami Fehri walked free Wednesday after more than a year in jail, which his supporters described as an attempt by the government to silence its critics. A smiling Fehri, who runs private Ettounsiya TV, left Mornaguia prison in a suburb of the capital at around 1800 GMT, and was met by supporters, lawyers and his wife, an AFP journalist reported.
"I spent a year in prison without having been convicted. I want to thank all those who supported me... What I need now is rest," he told AFP, before driving off in the car of one of his lawyers.
Fehri remains on trial in two separate cases.
One of them relates to allegations against a former business partner, Belhassen Trabelsi, the brother-in-law of ousted dictator Zine El Abdine Ben Ali, who is accused of illegally using state television funds to bolster his own production company Cactus Prod.
Five former regime officials are being tried alongside Fehri on similar charges of corruption, including Abdelwaheb Abdallah, a former Ben Ali adviser.
They were all freed on bail in July.
Technically the court also agreed to release Fehri on bail, but the decision was immediately overruled because he was implicated in another case, relating to suspect advertising contracts for the Tunisian postal service.
Fehri founded Ettounsiya TV in 2011, after the popular uprising that toppled Ben Ali.
His arrest in August last year triggered condemnation in Tunisia as it came just after the television boss announced he was pulling the plug on a satirical show, claiming he took the decision following government pressure.
Source: AFP

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