In the latest of case of Tunisia’s attack on the media, popular Tunisian cartoonist Taoufik Omrane was arrested and interrogated because he had published satirical cartoons about the country’s prime minister. Link to the opinion piece in the Middle East Monitor here.
Speaking of the cartoonist, Taoufik Omrane, who was not spared despite his blog posts that did not oppose the coup by Kais Saied posted two years ago, the man said he was subjected to questions during his interrogation that we may have thought had disappeared; questions such as: Do you pray? Do you drink alcohol? Does your wife wear the hijab or niqab? This is a gross violation of the most basic rules of respect for personal freedom and the essence of the case raised against him in the first place.
Omrane then appeared in court on Monday, and his lawyer, Anas Kadoussi, told Reuters that the cartoonist could face one year in prison if convicted. Kadsoussi said, “The police interrogated him (Omrane) for hours without the presence of lawyers on suspicion of insulting through social networks … over cartoons mocking the prime minister.”
PEN America condemned the arrest, and gave some explanation about the offending cartoons.
Two controversial cartoons surfaced on social media platforms on August 4th and 7th, just days following Ahmed Hachani’s appointment as the head of government. Omrane’s cartoons highlighted the new occupant of the Kasbah’s Hacahni’s perceived lack of experience and his constrained authority in comparison to Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed.
Here are the cartoons that got Kadoussi arrested and charged: