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.
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.