Tunisian court releases prominent radio director from prison
TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia’s most popular private radio station said an appeal court has allowed its director to be released on bail from prison, after more than three months of detention.
Mosaique FM announced Wednesday that its director, Noureddine Boutar, was freed after the appeal court ordered a bail of one million dinars (about $323,500) and a travel ban. The reasons behind the decision have not been made public.
Boutar was arrested in February on suspicion of money laundering and illicit enrichment, according to his lawyers who said the accusations were unfounded.
One of his lawyers, Ayoub Ghedamsi, said he was imprisoned because he was critical of the government.
The move comes amid a wave of arrests of opponents of the Tunisian president, Kais Saied. Rights groups have denounced a growing crackdown on dissent in the north African nation.
Last week, a Tunisian appeals court sentenced a journalist to five years in prison for revealing details of a counterterrorism operation and refusing to reveal his sources, according to his lawyer, prompting outcry from media rights advocates.
It was believed to be the worst sentence against a journalist in Tunisia since the 2011 Arab Spring revolution pushed out a long-serving autocrat and ushered in a new democratic system with more media freedom.
About 20 prominent opposition figures, including journalists, political party leaders, lawyers and female activist activist Chaima Issa are currently detained on a variety of charges.