Release Hunger-Striking Activist Imprisoned for Facebook Comments

640px-A_Cell - aliven sarkar

Target: Farhat Horchan, Minster of Justice

Goal: Release a hunger-striking activist from prison.

As a Tunisian prison officer, Walid Zarrouk was appalled by the human rights abuses he witnessed so he founded an non-governmental organization (NGO) focused on monitoring how prisoners are treated in Tunisia. He has recently been arrested for “insulting a public official” and is currently in jail. He is refusing both food and water in protest against his arrest and his health is deteriorating quickly. Sign the petition and demand that Walid Zarrouk be freed and that the charges against him be dropped.

Zarrouk was fired from his job after beginning his activism on behalf of Tunisian prisoners. It is believed that his arrest is also connected to his work with Muraqib, his NGO. The charge of “insulting a public official” stems from slanderous comments Zarrouk allegedly made on the Facebook page of Sofiane Selliti, the deputy public prosecutor.

Zarrouk is a prisoner of conscience and must be released immediately. In the meantime, however, he should be granted access to any medical care he may require and must be kept safe from torture and ill-treatment.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Horchan,

I am writing to protest the imprisonment of Walid Zarrouk, a former prison officer who has been arrested on the charge of “insulting a public official.” I believe that his arrest is connected to his activism and involvement with Muraqib, an NGO he founded to monitor prison conditions, police stations, and judicial procedures. If this is the case, he is a prisoner of conscience and ought to be released immediately.

Zarrouk was charged with “insulting a public official” after deputy public prosecutor Sofiane Selliti accused Zarrouk of posting slanderous remarks on Selliti’s Facebook page. Zarrouk was held in the Bouchoucha detention center for six days before being transferred to al-Rabta prison in Tunis. He recently began a hunger strike and, soon afterward, began refusing water as well. His wife, who has been visiting him in prison, says his health is “visibly deteriorating,”Amnesty International reports. It is therefore crucial that the charges against Zarrouk be dropped and that he be released immediately. In the meantime, however, I demand that he continues to still be allowed to see his family, have legal representation, and that he be granted any medical care he may require.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Aliven Sarkar

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