Islamist backlash fear keeps artist in prison

Islamist backlash fear keeps artist in prison

THE man pictured below is Jabeur Mejri, who made the mistake of thinking that the new Tunisia which emerged in the spring of 2011 would sweep away draconian old censorship laws.


After all, Article 30 in the country’s new constitution guarantees:

Freedom of opinion, thought, expression, media, and publication.

So Mejri felt safe in posting a picture of the “prophet” Mohammed on his Facebook page in 2012. He was 29 at the time, and apparently used Facebook to express opinions that would have been unthinkable under the old regime.

Big mistake.

Jabeur’s posts, according to to Amnesty International, were spotted by two lawyers who deemed them “offensive to Islam”. Within days Jabeur,  along with a colleague, Ghazi Beji, had been charged with “undermining public morals” and “attacking sacred values through actions”.

The two hadn’t bargained on the contents of Article 6 of the constitution, which contains clauses protecting religion and the sacred:

The state protects religion, guarantees freedom of belief and conscience and religious practices, protects sanctities, and ensures the neutrality of mosques and places of worship away from partisan instrumentalisation. The state is committed to spreading the values of moderation and tolerance, and to protect the sacred and prevent it from being attacked, and is also committed to prohibit charges of apostasy (‘takfir’) and incitement to hatred and violence, and to combat them.

The two “blasphemers”  was ordered to pay a hefty fine and each was jailed for seven and a half years in prison.

Beji managed to escape Tunisia and fled to France, where he obtained political asylum.

In what Amnesty International describes as “an ironic twist”, Tunisia’s current President Moncef Marzouki himself was once a human rights activist and even a prisoner of conscience. He is now the only person able to end Jabeur’s ordeal by granting him a presidential pardon.

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

Jabeur was part of Amnesty International’s 2013 Write for Rights campaign and nearly 12,000 signed petition calling for his release.

We now learn that a new campaign has been begun on his behalf. Artists from a dozen countries have launched an Internet campaign to free the young Tunisian artist.

The campaign  – “One Hundred Drawings for Jabeur” –  is meant to remind Tunisian lawmakers that the country’s newly adopted constitution guarantees freedom of conscience and of expression.

Continuing to hold the artist goes against “the spirit of the new charter”, claims the Committee in Support of Jabeur Mejri, a citizen group which launched the website containing more than 125 cartoons and drawings, including the one below which makes the point that using one’s brain is unacceptable to Muslim fundamentalists.



12 responses to “Islamist backlash fear keeps artist in prison”

  1. Stonyground says:

    “If it takes force to impose your ideas on your fellow man, there is something wrong with your ideas. If you are willing to use force to impose your ideas on your fellow man, there is something wrong with you.” – Mark Fournier

  2. Dan Klang says:

    Is Jabeur Mejri ver brave or stupidly naive? He should know that there are islamofacist loons everywhere with time on their hands and nothing better to do than scour the media for issues about which they can be offended and outraged. They love to scream rant and wail beyond the threshold of hysteria to whip up emotions and energise the lynch mob or a lone goon looking for a quick transfer to an afterlife shared with a bunch of virgins he can rape and abuse.

    I like to think Jabeur Mejri is a brave worthy man deserving of the best support from kaffirs everywhere. I fear for his safety though because the fanatics of islam have no moral boundaries and and revel in murder as an act of worship.

  3. ian says:

    OT: Who ever said that there were stupid people in this world?

  4. Broga says:

    What an amazing mindset. These muslims think that by terrorising people into silence or forcing them to spout religious bullshit they are achieving something. What it demonstrates is that their beliefs and their God and their prophet are so impotent and incredible that they crumble when doubts arise.

    OT I see that a professor of hydrology, or similar, has commented on Eric Pickles, an irritant to freethinking people, saying that Pickles was profoundly stupid in his remarks on the floods. The professor added that Pickles would be more use as a sandbag.

  5. John C says:

    Broga,i initialy had the thought that maybe every musloon should adopt a parrot, then they can teach it to repeat garbage without caring or understanding ,but then, sympathy for parrotkind kicked in, they are actualy inteligent creatures so totaly unsuited to such a role.

  6. barriejohn says:

    More pilgrims perish, including a respected British councillor, but it’s “a blessing” to die in Medina, evidently:

  7. barriejohn says:

    Broga: I felt sorry for Chris Smith. Pickles waded in, as it were, on the Andrew Marr Show, hoping to score cheap political points at his expense (he wasn’t there to defend himself) and has ended up with egg on his face again (another unfortunate turn of phrase under the circumstances!). Will he ever learn?

  8. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: I watched Pickles on the news. He is such as arrogant know-all as he weighs in, as it were, into subjects such as religion, the environment, education and health about which he is ignorant.

    I wonder if his obesity, which must be a presentation problem for him with the obvious coils of fat round his throat, is a medical problem. Or is he just a glutton? If the latter he must lack will power as, in a presentation obsessed age, he is a big turn off.

    In a government allegedly concerned about the increase in Type 2 diabetes, linked we are told to food consumption and inactivity, Pickles must be an embarrassment. I think he can be ruled out as the Health boss. Pickles lecturing us about the evils of over eating and inactivity would be something to hear.

    I thought Chris Smith presented well and made some telling points in a temperate manner. Dave is down there floating around and trying to make the right noises. And I see his predecessor Tony “Legs” Blair has upset Mr Murdoch. Bad move.

  9. John C says:

    Was actualy suprised that piggles managed to resist saying the floods were caused by lack of prayer or gay marriage, maybe he realised it wouldnt be popular, sure he probably thought it though.If anyone realy has to “weigh in” with an opinion,pickles is certainly overqualified to do so,by the ton

  10. ian says:

    @Broga, I remember Pickles when he had a waist; mind you I’ve been around a long time.