Tunisian blogger sentenced to 6 months in prison over anti-Saeid Facebook post
The trial of Amina Mansour, a Tunisian blogger, over an anti-Saeid Facebook post sparked outrage in the North African country, where a crackdown on free speech intensified under President Kais Saied's rule.
On Tuesday, Mansour said on Facebook that she has received a six-month sentence from the Court's First Instance, following a complaint filed against her by the Presidency of the Republic after she criticised President Kais Saeid on a previous Facebook post.
The posts for which Amina Mansour was held "guilty" were published between the end of July and August last year. Through her online publications, Mansour held Saeid responsible for "the political chaos in Tunisia".
Last year, the military court conducted an investigation of Mansour's case before transferring it to the civil court.
In 2021, she was prosecuted in absentia to a year in prison. Tunis' Court of First Instance ruled on Tuesday to reduce the sentence to 6 months after her objection. Mansour remains free until the court of appeal decides on her case.
Mansour's verdict sparked outrage among Tunisian activists, who considered her trial another slide towards authoritarianism in the birthland of the Arab Spring uprisings.
Tunisia's National Salvation Front, an opposition alliance, denounced Wednesday Mnasour's trial calling on the Tunisian state to stop the political and military trials against civilians.
"The de facto authority continues its campaign of security and judicial targeting of parliamentarians, political opponents and bloggers. After the military trials of parliamentarians and lawyers over the past weeks, this week is witnessing a new series of trials against those who oppose the coup," wrote Front in a press release Wednesday.
In Tunisia, several legal texts allow military courts to take control of several cases involving civilians.
Chapter 8 of the Code of Military Procedures and Punishments asserts, for example, that the military courts have the power to prosecute civilians as "principal perpetrators […] or as accomplices" in the crimes that they are competent to adjudicate.
Among these crimes are "disparaging the flag or the army" in a public place and "harming its dignity, reputation, or morale." In addition, Chapter 91 of the code specifies crimes of "criticising the actions of the General Command or those responsible for the actions of the army in a manner that affects their dignity."
Last year, Amnesty International said military courts in Tunisia have increasingly targeted civilians for their public criticism of President Kais Saied since he took extraordinary powers on 25 July.
On 25 July, Saied froze the parliament, dismissed the prime minister, and announced he will temporarily rule by decree. Since then, he has continuously extended his power by dissolving more bodies.