Artists' Campaign Supports Jabeur Mejri, Jailed for Insulting Islam - Tunisia Live Artists' Campaign Supports Jabeur Mejri, Jailed for Insulting Islam - Tunisia Live
Artists’ Campaign Supports Jabeur Mejri, Jailed for Insulting Islam

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Artists’ Campaign Supports Jabeur Mejri, Jailed for Insulting Islam

Drawing by Scotto. Photo credit: 100 Drawings for Jabeur Mejri.

Artists from more than twelve countries have come together for 100 Drawings for Jabeur Mejri, a new project in support of a Tunisian citizen imprisoned for insulting Islam.

Mejri was sentenced to seven and a half years of jail time in March 2012 for sharing drawings of the Prophet Mohammed on Facebook. His case has spawned the #FreeJabeur campaign in Tunisia, backed by Amnesty International.

President Moncef Marzouki has said on multiple occasions that he would release Mejri, but that he was waiting for the good political moment

In January, Mejri's lawyers said their client had been fast-tracked for asylum in Sweden and that the request had been approved by the Tunisian government. The government never confirmed these statements, however, and Mejri remains in Mehdia prison.

This newest initiative to draw attention to Mejri's imprisonment is led by the Committee in Support of Jabeur Mejri, a citizen campaign to raise awareness about the case.

The committee launched a website that boasts more than 125 cartoons and drawings depicting the issues behind Mejri's imprisonment. Artists participating in the project include Tunisian cartoonists _Z_ and Willis from Tunis. Others hail from France, Belgium, Algeria, and England, according to organizers.

Many cartoons portray the relationship between the Tunisian state and Islam, some focus on Marzouki's role in Mejri's jailing, and others focus on Tunisia's history with internet censorship.

Drawing by Fathy. Photo Credit: 100 Drawings for Jabeur Mejri.

Drawing by Kianoush. Photo Credit: 100 Drawings for Jabeur Mejri.

Two women stand with the captions: Tunisia under Ben Ali and Tunisia under Ennahdha.
Drawing by Vadot. Photo credit: 100 Drawings For Jabeur Mejri.

Drawing by Wingz. Photo Credit: 100 Drawings for Jabeur Mejri.

Drawing by _Z_ reads Jabeur Mejri: Prisoner of the Sacred.
Photo Credit: 100 Drawings for Jabeur Mejri.

Drawing by Large. Photo Credit: 100 Drawings for Jabeur Mejri.

President Marzouki, you are surrounded! We are numerous! We are done laughing! Free our friend Jabeur Mejri! Show a sign of humanity; it's slugs who are asking you!
Drawing by Palix. Photo credit: 100 Drawings For Jabeur Mejri.

In this cartoon former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali says, He’s not bad after all, this Marzouki¦
Drawing by Rousso. Photo Credit: 100 Drawings for Jabeur Mejri.

If Jabeur is not out, you will be next!
Drawing by Willis from Tunis. Photo Credit: 100 Drawings for Jabeur Mejri.

The group claims that protections enshrined in Tunisia's new constitution, which was adopted last week, are enough to free Mejri.

Article 30 in the constitution guarantees the freedom of opinion, thought, expression, media, and publication.

Article 6 on freedom of conscience, however, contains clauses protecting religion and the sacred. The article reads: The state protects religion, guarantees freedom of belief and conscience and religious practices, protects sanctities, and ensures the neutrality of mosques and places of worship away from partisan instrumentalisation. The state is committed to spreading the values of moderation and tolerance, and to protect the sacred and prevent it from being attacked, and is also committed to prohibit charges of apostasy (˜takfir') and incitement to hatred and violence, and to combat them.

Some fear that parts of the article such as the ban on takfir infringe on freedom of speech and that perceived contradictions within the constitution could lead to more situations like Mejri's.

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  • Lawyer

    You seem to have a very poor understanding of constitutional matters.

    The article you are referring to expressly prohibits CHARGES of apostasy, and certainly not apostasy itself. It does not take a law degree to understand that!

    From a strictly legal standpoint, such text should indeed allow for Jabeur Mejri’s liberation.

  • Lawyer

    And then I read the background, realized that I spoke too soon, and apologized. There indeed seems to be a debate about how this specific article should be interpreted.

    In my professional opinion however, if such article states that charges of apostasy are prohibited, even the state shall not use apostasy as grounds for any penalty.

    I therefore confirm my assessment of this article in the previous comment, but apologize as to its unduly rude form.

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