Tunisian court frees two students after President slams detention

Tunisian court frees two students after President slams detention

The criminal chamber of Nabeul Court of First Instance, in Tunisia, has ordered the release of two students arrested Tuesday over a song condemning the country’s laws on drugs and treatment of youth by security forces.

Dhia Nassir, 26, and Youssef Chelbi, 27, appeared before the prosecutor Tuesday upon request from the ministry of interior for posting on social media a song deemed an offense to the country’s laws on drugs and law enforcement officers’ treatment of youth.

Their lawyer told local media Mozaique FM that the court rejected their bailout request to allow them to sit for their exam scheduled May 17-18.

However, the court backtracked Thursday setting them free after President Kais Saied, during a meeting with Prime Minister Najla Bouden, laid into the detention of the young students.

“I don’t want to interfere in the affairs of the judiciary, but I don’t like injustice (…) There is no justification for the arrest of two students who are about to take their exams… It is unacceptable,” he said.

Also on Thursday, Faker Bouzghaya, the spokesperson for the ministry of interior, launched an administration probe into the arrest of the two youths. Tunisia’s laws have criminalized the use of drugs. In 2021 a court sentenced four young men to 20 years in prison for forming a drug trafficking network in the capital. The court also slapped around $35,000-fine on each.

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