The famous Tunisian cartoonist Tawfik Omrane was placed in pre-trial detention on Thursday for "harming others" via social networks after the publication of cartoons criticizing Prime Minister Ahmed Hachani, his lawyer told AFP. He was arrested Thursday around 17 p.m. at his home in Megrine, a southern suburb of Tunis, Ayachi Hammami added.
The 64-year-old cartoonist was taken to a police station in Megrine where he was interrogated for three hours about two cartoons published in early August on his page "Omrane Cartoons" that criticize the choice of Ahmed Hachani as head of government, said Ayachi Hammami. A prosecutor decided to remand him in custody following the interrogation.
This is another violation against freedom of expression that this time affects a great cartoonist," said Ayachi Hammami, also an opponent of President Kais Saied's policies.
Support for civil society figures
Tawfik Omrane has been known since the 80s for his political cartoons. His arrest was strongly criticized on social networks by many civil society figures who denounced "an attack on freedoms".
The president of the National Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT) Mehdi Jelassi, called for "the immediate release" of the cartoonist.
The SNJT and other local and international NGOs regularly denounce a decline in freedoms in Tunisia since President Kais Saied assumed full powers to himself on July 25, 2021. These NGOs also denounce the "intimidation" of journalists through legal proceedings and "purely political" arrests.