Tunisia jails sick journalist

2010-07-07 08:20

Tunis - A Tunisian court on Tuesday sentenced a television journalist to four years in prison for reporting information deemed threatening to the public order, his lawyer said.

Fahem Boukadous, who is in hospital and did not attend the hearing, said his "transfer to prison would mean my death".

Lawyers and rights organisations say he was prosecuted for reporting on 2008 protests in Gafsa's mining basin over unemployment, high living costs, and corruption.

Sentencing Boukadous to four years in his absence, the appeals court in Gafsa in south Tunisia upheld the original verdict against Fahem Boukadous for "belonging to a criminal association" and releasing information deemed "of a nature to threaten the public order".

Boukadous' lawyer Mohamed Abbou said his client remained in hospital but "runs the risk of being imprisoned at any moment."

The journalist for the satellite channel Al-hiwar Ettounsi, who has been in hospital since July 3, told AFP he was suffering from breathing problems and a lung infection.