Tunisia: 100 drawings on the web for young imprisoned artist

Internet campaign points to liberties under new Charter

05 February, 09:28

    A hundred drawings for Jabeur, one of the works posted on the web to demand artist's freedom A hundred drawings for Jabeur, one of the works posted on the web to demand artist's freedom

    (by Maria Novella Topi) (ANSAmed) - ROME, FEBRUARY 4 - A hundred drawings for the freedom of one illustrator: artists from a dozen countries on Tuesday launched an Internet campaign to free young Tunisian artist Jabeur Mejri, incarcerated since March 2012 for blasphemy in drawing caricatures of Islam's Prophet Mohammed. The campaign called ''One Hundred Drawings for Jabeur'' reminds lawmakers that Tunisia's newly adopted Constitution, which will be presented Friday in the presence of international heads of State including French President Francois Hollande, guarantees freedom of conscience and of expression. Continuing to hold Mejri, who was sentenced along with colleague Ghazi Beji to seven and a half years behind bars and payment of a 550-euro fine, goes against ''the spirit of the new Charter''. Beji broke out and fled to France, where he obtained political asylum.

    The site '100dessinspourjabeur.org' has satirical drawings in many styles, but they abound in prison bars, criticism of Salafist fundamentalism, and accusations against President Moncef Marzouki for failing to exercise clemency.

    Marzouki has repeatedly said he would like to intervene in favor of the young prisoner, but also pointed to the growing power of extremist jihadist groups as a reason not to.

    ''There are enormous tensions right now in Tunisia'', he has said. ''I would not want such a reprieve to spark more tensions and debates. I will free him, but I need a window of opportunity in which to do so''. (ANSAmed).

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