By Tristan Dreisbach | Mar 4 2014cartoon , Islam , jabeur mejri , trials
Jabeur Mejri, a man who has served nearly two years in prison for posting cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed on Facebook, has been released, according to multiple reports and Mejri’s support committee.
Jabeur and his friend Ghazi Beji were sentenced to seven and a half years in prison in March 2012 for posting content deemed offensive to Islam. Beji, however, fled the country before the start of the trial and now lives in France where he has obtained political asylum.
Jabeur’s cause has been taken up by advocacy organizations such as Amnesty International, which viewed him as a prisoner of conscience.
On January 21, a delegation from the International Federation for Human Rights, a human rights organization based in Paris, visited Mejri in prison and called for his release. The same day, Mselmi said that Mejri would be released in a deal that would grant him asylum in Sweden. This did not happen, however.
Adnene Mansar, a spokesperson for President Moncef Marzouki, announced in mid-February that Jabeur had received a presidential pardon for the charges related to the cartoons. He remained in prison, however, on charges he stole 1,600 dinars ($1,010 U.S.) worth of tickets while working for the Tunisian national railway company.
The charges date back to 2011, and carry a potential ten-year sentence, his lawyer Ahmed Mselmi told Tunisia Live last month. A warrant was only issued in late January of this year, however.
The presidency has stated that Mejri apologized for the cartoons.
“In October, Jabeur Mejri wrote a handwritten apology letter saying: I declare that I apologize to the Tunisian people and other Islamic people for what I released of my writings and drawings offending the Prophet Mohammed and Islam,” Mansar said last month.
Correction: An earlier version of this article included an incorrect spelling of Adnene Mansar’s name, this has been fixed.