Tunisia: Hardline Islamists assault dramatist

On 24 May, artist and dramatist Rjab Magri was assaulted by four people in El Kef (North West of Tunisia). The assaults occurred few meters outside the prep school where Magri was teaching a drama class. The attackers are believed to be  hardline Islamists.

“I felt as if a balcony fell over me or as if my head had blown up. I lost consciousness, and I fell to the ground. I could see four or five persons stamping on me. One of them told me “you are insulting people; we will get rid of all of you.” I asked him “what is your problem with me?” “shut up atheist”, he said as he was hitting my head into the ground, and the others continued stamping on me”, said Magri in a testimony broadcast by Tunisian National TV 1.

The dramatist is recovering at a private medical clinic in Tunis, where he is getting treatment for traumatic brain injury, and clavicle fracture. The attackers also broke his teeth and nose.

Moez M’rabet, the President of the Association for Dramatic Art Graduates, told JawharaFM radio station: “We harshly condemn the assault, the second of its kind against our colleague. We are confused, and shocked because police officers did not interfere, even though they were near the incident”.

“This reminds us of the physical attacks against dramatists which took place on 25 March at Habib Bourguiba Avenue. I hold the ruling authorities responsible for these assaults. Artists are witnessing attacks on a daily basis, and there is complicity on the part of the authorities. I would like to address the public opinion, and inform them that today the Tunisian artist’s physical sanctity is at risk, and so his ideas, and freedoms of expression and creation,” he added.