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Tunisian rapper arrested

2012-02-07 22:06

Tunis - A young Tunisian rapper who denounces police abuse in a provocative song has been jailed after testing positive for drugs, his father told AFP on Tuesday.

Anis Mrabti - who goes by the state name "Volcanis le Roi" - was arrested at his parents' home in Tunis' southern suburbs on January 25 by police, apparently over the song Nothing Has Changed, his relatives said.

"Anis told me that after his arrest, the police tested him for drugs and it was positive," Mongi Mrabti said after meeting his son for the first time since his arrest.

"It's probable that Anis smoked a joint or took something else but I am convinced, like he is, that he is having problems because of his song."

He was "never a delinquent, only an artist," the father said adding that the 27-year-old was in low spirits with "zero morale".

He is being held at the Mornague prison south of Tunis.

In the incriminated song Matbadel Chay (Nothing Has Changed), the rapper tells of his disappointment after a popular uprising that toppled president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011, following 23 years of despotic rule.

Volcanis le Roi argues that dire poverty, corruption and police abuse have all continued in post-revolution Tunisia. A four-letter refrain against the police is repeated throughout the song.

His relatives said the police also took his computer at the time of arrest.

The interior ministry denied the arrest was over the song. Human Rights Minister Samir Dilou said information will "be given in the coming days".