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Published On: Tue, May 28th, 2013

Tunisian blogger, Hakim Ghanmi, faces up to three years in prison for criticizing military hospital

The trial against blogger Hakim Ghanmi starts tomorrow in front of a military court for the “undermining the reputation of the army”, “defamation of a public official” and “disturbing others through public communication networks” after he published a letter to the Minister of Defence on his blog Warakat Tounsia in April 2013. In the letter, he complained about the actions of the director of the military hospital in Gabes, according to Amnesty International.

Hakim Ghanmi Image/Facebook

Hakim Ghanmi
Image/Facebook

According to the human rights organization, Ghanmi questioned what he claimed was the hospital’s refusal to receive a patient, his sister-in-law, despite her having an appointment. He also called for investigations into the hospital director for his treatment of patients.

That’s when things went bad. The hospital director filed a complaint against Ghanmi at the Sfax Military Court of First Instance.

Hakim Ghanmi is being charged under Article 91 of Code of Military Justice and Article 128 of the Penal Code, In addition, was also charged under Article 86 of the Telecommunication Code.

Amnesty International says since the uprising that led to the toppling of former President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, the authorities have continued to harass journalists, artists, bloggers and critics under articles in Tunisian legislation which criminalize defamation and expression deemed to threaten public order, public morals or sacred values.

“The trial of Hakim Ghanmi is a new blow to freedom of expression in Tunisia,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

“Putting him on trial at all violates his basic right to freedom of expression, but having to face a military court for posting on a blog is nothing short of shocking and violates Tunisia’s international human rights obligations. Civilians should not be tried in military courts.”

“Hakim Ghanmi should be allowed to peacefully voice his criticism of the authorities and public institutions without having to fear harassment and retribution. The right to criticize authorities and demand accountability is what Tunisians have fought and obtained so painfully”.

“It is truly baffling that people are still prosecuted in Tunisia simply because some officials cannot bear criticism.”

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON says:

    SOMETIMES, IT IS OKAY TO “TOOT YOUR OWN HORN,” SO, I WILL “TOOT” MINE.

    WHEN I STARTED MAKING ONLINE COMMENTARY IN NOVEMBER 2011, I WAS NAIVE. I HAD NO CLUE PARTICIPANTS IN ONLINE DISCUSSION PLAYED “NICEY-NICE” BECAUSE THEY DID NOT WANT THEIR COMMENTARY TO HAVE A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON THEM “TEN YEARS DOWN THE ROAD,” THEREBY, PREVENTING THEM FROM OBTAINING “CUSHY” JOBS, ETC. BUT I BELIEVE IN SPEAKING MY MIND; AND I ALWAYS ATTACH MY NAME – NOT, A MONIKER – TO MY COMMENTARY. BECAUSE I LOVE CAUCASIAN MALES, I WANT CAUCASIAN-MALE SITE-OWNERS TO MAKE AN ABUNDANCE OF MONEY; IF MY COMMENTARY HELPS IN THAT EFFORT, THAT IS A GOOD THING.

    A FEW MONTHS AGO, A COMMENTER ON ANOTHER WEBSITE TOLD ME THE REASON WHY THAT SITE HAD BECOME THE NUMBER ONE LIBERTARIAN SITE IN THE NATION AND READ IN ONE-HUNDRED-AND-FORTY-SIX COUNTRIES IS BECAUSE OF MY COMMENTARY. IF THAT IS TRUE, THAT TELLS ME PEOPLE ENGAGE IN ONLINE DISCUSSION BECAUSE THEY WANT TO BE ENTERTAINED – EVEN, ON SERIOUS SUBJECTS. IT IS NOT MY GOAL TO BE A “SHOCK JOCK.” I AM MERELY A FORTY-SIX-YEAR-OLD NEGRO MALE WHO WAS BORN IN RURAL MISSISSIPPI – AND, WHO IS A HOLDER OF A GRADUATE DEGREE, AN ATHEIST AND HOMOSEXUAL. IT IS OUT OF MY CONTROL IF CAUCASIANS ARE NOT USED TO NEGRO MALES WHO HAVE AN OPINION.

    NOW, I ASSUME THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED IN AMERICA BECAUSE AMERICANS WANT TO “TOOT THEIR HORN” IN REFERENCE TO Bill of Rights freedoms. OF COURSE, THAT DOES NOT MEAN TUNISIA IS “THIRD WORLD” BECAUSE THE WEST SAYS SO.

    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

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