On Wednesday, the Tunisian judiciary released on bail Noureddine Boutar, director of the private radio station Mosaique FM, more than three months after his arrest as part of a campaign of arrests against prominent opposition figures.
The Tunisian judiciary decided, on Wednesday, to release on bail the director of the widely circulated private radio station “Mosaique FM”, Noureddine Boutar, after his arrest since February in the cases of money laundering and conspiracy against state security, according to what his lawyer told AFP.
The Tunis Court of Appeal approved the request of Boutar’s defense team, the most followed radio director in Tunisia, to release him, but on a financial guarantee of one million dinars (about 300,000 euros), according to his lawyer, Dalila Mosaddeq. Mosaddeq explained that it was also decided to prevent him from leaving the country.
The lawyer said, “Buttar does not have this amount, especially since the judiciary has frozen all his assets. We are in the process of collecting this amount, so it will be difficult to release him today,” Wednesday.
Buttar was arrested on February 13, as part of a campaign of arrests against dissidents and prominent figures, on charges of plotting against state security. President Kais Saied described the detainees as “terrorists”.
The judiciary issued a detention card against Boutar on charges of money laundering, as part of a case against which he is still being prosecuted and against the background of the case of conspiracy against state security. He has always defended his innocence, considering that he was arrested because of the editorial line of his radio, and his arrest, along with twenty opponents and businessmen, led to a wide mobilization of civil society.
Amnesty International described the unprecedented wave of arrests since President Saied came to power on July 25, 2021, as a “politically motivated campaign.”
Likewise, the two prominent presenters on “Mosaique FM” radio, Haitham Al-Makki and Elias Al-Gharbi, were investigated by the security forces on Monday for discussing in their program “Midi Show” the failures of employment in the security services. Dozens of journalists demonstrated on Monday in front of the headquarters of the security division to express their solidarity with al-Makki and al-Gharbi.
In mid-May, Mosaique FM reporter Khalifa Al-Qasimi was sentenced on appeal to five years in prison under the Anti-Terrorism Law after being convicted of disclosing information about a security operation.
The Tunisian Journalists Syndicate has organized several demonstrations in recent weeks to protest the “repressive” policy aimed at “intimidating” and “subjugating” the media. In this context, opponents denounce the “political exploitation of the judiciary” to silence critical voices in Tunisia.
On Tuesday, the judiciary dropped a lawsuit against two students who were arrested against the backdrop of a satirical song published on social media, and they were released after President Saeed denounced their arrest by the police.