Demonstrations against the \"offensive\" images and texts pertaining to Prophet Mohammed
Tunis –Nabil Zaghdoud
Ghazi Baji, a young Tunisian man found guilty of posting \"offensive\" images and texts pertaining to Prophet Mohammed, one of Islam\'s most revered figures, on the internet has apologised
to Tunisians for his controversial book \"The Illusion of Islam\".
He said in a telephone interview on Tuesday evening from Romania, where he is in self-exile, to private Tunisian radio channel \"Mosaic\": “I apologise to all Muslims and Tunisians in particular and ask them to forget the past and start a new fresh beginning. My family is in danger...I\'m asking for forgiveneness for what is considered an insult to Islam.\"
The Court of Appeal in Monastir governorate approved on June 25 the verdict by the First Court of Mahdia governorate in March, which demanded the imprisonment of Jaber Mejri and Ghazi Baji for seven and a half years and a fine of 66 euors.
They were convicted on charges of \"publishing material online that disturbs public order\".
Baji in July 2011 published a free e-book entitled \"The Illusion of Islam\" through which he covers –- as he described -- “The ugly face of Islam”
His friend, Jaber Meriji, published satirical cartoons about Islam in the same book on Facebook.
The authorities managed to arrest Mejri and imprisoned him for the duration of his sentence while his Baji succeeded in escaping to Romania before the verdict, where he has recently got political asylum.
Human rights activists announced Monday the formation of a special body to help Baji and Mejri.
Activists said in a statement that the issue of the two young men reflected the return of censorship and suppression of the right to free speech, which went against civil society ideals.
The rights groups added that they have decided to contact members of the National Constituent Assembly and reporters from the from Human Rights Ministry in order to raise their awareness of the issue, which was a \"violation of Tunisia\'s commitment to international conventions, and a retreat from the gains of the Tunisian revolution, especially the right of expression for all citizens without any discrimination\".
The national support committee includes journalists, lawyers, human rights activists, university professors and students, and the international support committee involves poets, writers and human rights activists from France, Germany, Syria, Morocco, Algeria and Egypt.