Tunis (AFP)

The Tunis Court of Appeal announced on Tuesday evening that it had decided to release journalist and writer Taoufik Ben Brik, who had become famous for his opposition to the Ben Ali regime.

Mr. Ben Brik was arrested at the end of July for comments denouncing the incarceration of presidential candidate Nabil Karoui in the fall of 2019.

He had notably launched on a television channel: "in other countries, we take up arms and people come down to fight for those they support" and criticized the judges who imprisoned Mr. Karoui, a businessman being prosecuted for money laundering.

Mr. Ben Brik was then prosecuted in particular for "defamation", and in April, while he was abroad, he was sentenced to two years in prison in absentia.

He had asked to be retried when he returned to Tunisia in July.

At the end of this new trial, he was sentenced at the end of July to one year in prison and imprisoned in the wake. The journalist then appealed.

"Taoufik Ben Brik's sentence has been reduced to an eight-month suspended sentence," Ismail Sassi, the deputy attorney general of the Tunis Court of Appeal, Ismail Sassi, told AFP on Tuesday evening.

According to him, the Court of Appeal decided to cancel the proceedings for "defamation" and pronounced an eight-month suspended sentence for the second accusation: the fact of uttering "facts (...) without establishing their veracity".

According to his lawyer Me Bassem Trifi and Mr. Sassi, he was to be released in the evening.

After his arrest, his lawyers deplored an "arbitrary" arrest of the journalist who had already served in prison in 2010 after having criticized the regime of Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

Taoufik Ben Brik, 59, known for his often satirical or ironic writings denouncing the dictatorship of Ben Ali, was censored in Tunisia and regularly harassed by the police of the former regime.

© 2020 AFP