Tunisian police arrested Fahem Boukadous, a widely respected critical journalist, on July 15. Before his arrest, Boukadous wrote an open letter from the hospital, where he was being treated for acute asthma. On the evening he was taken to Gafsa prison, his wife, Afaf Bennacer, wrote an article about what happened that has been circulated on multiple Arabic websites. Below is CPJ's translation:
hours after my husband was discharged from the hospital in
My husband responded by saying that he was an independent and internationally recognized journalist who was not interested in obtaining a national press card and that he could not accept such bargaining. At that point, Nticha made a sudden phone call. Someone named Burhan Bsaies walked into the café right after that call, shook our hands, sat down and started talking about my husband’s health, how it had deteriorated and that it was possible to treat him under better conditions and even abroad if necessary. He stood by the same offer and hinted to the financial benefits and good life my husband would receive. He also pointed out Fahem’s qualities, sincerity, and friendship with all civil society members. Fahem replied that he would not submit the request for pardon and that his freedom would be the fruit of the democratic movement’s strife at home and abroad. On that note, Fahem ended the conversation and we left them in the café and went out.
Ironically, he was arrested by the political