Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Tunisia rappers jailed for insulting officials

02 September 2013, 14:26

Tunis - Two Tunisian rappers, Weld El 15 and Klay BBJ, have been given jail terms of one year and nine months in absentia for insulting officials, their lawyer said on Monday.

"This trial took place without us being summoned," said Ghazi Mrabet.

"I will speak to my clients to challenge this ruling, but jail sentences demonstrate that the relentless campaign against artistic freedom, freedom of expression, continues," he added.

The two young men, who were arrested at a concert in the eastern town of Hammamet on 22 August and freed the following day, were convicted of insulting officials, violating public morals and defamation.

Mrabet said he was surprised to hear about the trial, which took place on Friday without him being informed, because he was waiting to receive the court summons and the charges against his clients.

The lawyer said he found out about the court ruling through the local media but had to wait until Monday for confirmation.

The justice ministry and the judiciary refuse to comment on court decisions.

One of the two rappers, Weld El 15, was jailed in June for a song he wrote called "The Police are Dogs", and freed on appeal in July after his two year sentence was reduced on appeal to a six month suspended term.

Freedom of speech

The police have said that the words of their songs had been offensive to public officials, a crime that carries a possible jail sentence in Tunisia.

The original trial of Weld El 15, whose real name is Ala Yaacoubi, sparked a scandal at the time, with members of the opposition and human rights groups calling it an attack on freedom of speech.

But Islamist Prime Minister Ali Larayedh dismissed those claims, saying the musician was being prosecuted "for inciting hatred and calling for the death of police and magistrates".

Mrabet has insisted that Weld El 15 had not sung the song in question at the concert in Hammamet.

"He sang his old repertoire, songs dating to the time of [ousted strongman Zine El Abidine] Ben Ali," the lawyer said, speaking the day after the arrest last month.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...