Tunisian journalist ends hunger strike

Journalist and activist Ramzi Bettaieb ended a 15-day hunger strike yesterday.

Three other activists and bloggers, Azyz Amami, Houcem Hajlaoui and Emine M’tiraoui, who went on hunger strike in solidarity with Bettaieb have also ended their action.

Bettaieb, who works for the blogger’s collective Nawaat, went on hunger strike to highlight the lack of transparency in a crucial case being tried in front of a military court. On 21 May, the military authorities confiscated two of Bettaieb’s cameras as he tried to cover trials at the Military Tribunal of El Kef in the investigation of the murder of protesters during the 2011 Tunisian revolution

Tunisian journalists’ video coverage of court hearings is currently restricted to three minutes inside court rooms and Bettaieb accuses the military of deliberately preventing journalists from documenting what Nawaat has described as “the most important trials of Tunisia’s modern history”.

Bettaieb has now his cameras back, and the support of Tunisia’s constituent assembly, which pledged to look into his demands of lifting the restrictions on journalists and activists seeking to cover the court hearings in the martyrs’ case.

Bettaieb has also demanded the case be tried instead by an independent judicial structure instead of miltary judges.

“Our bodies’ powers are limited, but our determination is unlimited,” Bettaieb said at a press conference.