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La lettre envoiée au Wsis par le comité international de soutien aux jeunes internautes de Zarzis (présidente Hélène Flautre, Porte parole Térésa Chopin, mère de Omar Chlendi), campagne lançée à l'occasion du Smsi/Wsis pour la libération des internautes (Vedi anche il sito Zarzis.org)

Giovedi' 3 Novembre 2005
To the attention of mister Yoshio Utsumi,
Secretary general of International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
and of World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)
Place des Nations. 1211. Genève 20. Suisse
Email : wsis.csd@ties.itu.int
Dear Sir,

While the second phase of a World Summit on the Information Society is going to be held in Tunis, you are aware that this country denies to its society the access to information.
On the international scene, Mr Ambeyi Ligabo, special reporter of the Commission of human rights invited Tunis, on behalf of the United Nations, " to free unconditionally all the prisoners of opinion and from the press and to allow the full exercise of the freedom of speech and expression in the country " (Geneva, in October 17th, 2005 - AFP); besides, in a statement read on September 30th, 2005 by Canada during a preparatory meeting of the Summit, the European Union, the United States and a dozen of western countries asked Tunisia " to demonstrate that it protects firmly and promotes " the freedom of speech and expression and the right to receive and to spread any piece of information by whatever media it is.
In Tunisia itself, eight politicians and members of associations who have entered an unlimited hunger strike since October 18th, claim, among other things, " the respect of the right of meeting and of association, the recognition of all political parties, the respect of the rights of opinion, information, communication and the free access to the internet ". They ask for " the liberation of all the political prisoners " (FIDH / OMCT - October 21st, 2005). At the same time, a wide mouvement of hunger strikes develops in prisons and these actions are relayed by families and by the tunisian civil society in general.

It is under those circumstances that we would like to bring you the case of MAHROUG Hamza, BEAUTIFUL HAJJ IBRAHIM Ridha, GUIZA Abdelghaffar, RACHED Omar, MCHAREK Aymen, CHLENDI Omar, native of Zarzis, in Tunisia. They were arrested by the Tunisian authorities between January and March, 2003, held arbitrarily and tortured during their interrogations. Deprived of fair lawsuit, they were charged for " use of Internet in purposes of terrorist activities ", and condemned, without proof, on July 6th, 2004, at 13 years of prison. Imprisoned in inhuman conditions, their physical and psychological health keep on degrading. The committee gathered around the mother of one of them (Omar Chlendi) launches a campaign for their liberation, notably in the form of postcards sent on one hand to the President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, on the other hand to the French President of the Republic Jacques Chirac ( cf.www.zarzis.org ).

The Declaration of Principles of the first phase of the summit held in Geneva in December, 2003 asserts that "as outlined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, [...] everyone, everywhere should have the opportunity to participate and no one should be excluded from the benefits the Information Society offers." It is thus the responsibility of the organizers of the SMSI to require from the President Ben Ali, the host of the Summit, the immediate liberation of these young Internet users whose only "crime" is to have made use of their right of information through the Web.

On behalf of Comité international de soutien aux internautes de ZARZIS

Hélène FLAUTRE, Député européen
Présidente du Comité



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