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Blogger Sentenced to 6 Months for 'Offensive' COVID Post

Tunisian authorities accused Emma Charqui of 'inciting hatred between religions'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2020 4:58 PM CDT

(Newser) – Tunisian blogger Emna Charqui has been sentenced to six months in prison over a Facebook post about coronavirus prevention. The 27-year-old shared a post about hand-washing and social distancing that was written in a style that mimicked a verse from the Koran, the BBC reports. Other social media users said Charqui, an atheist, should be punished for the "offensive" post, which she shared on May 2. Amnesty International said the prosecution was "yet another illustration of how, despite Tunisia's democratic progress, the authorities continue to use repressive law to undermine freedom of expression."

Days after Charqui shared the post, which was created by an Algerian atheist, she was charged with "inciting hatred between religions." Charqui plans to appeal the ruling. Weeks after she was charged, she told France24 that she had received death threats. She said she had only meant to share information about the pandemic in a humorous way. "I'm really scared because I had no bad intentions, I didn't think it would take on such a scale and that we would end up with threats," she said. "I don't have any protection so I got to the point of being afraid for my own life. I have no future in Tunisia. I'm no longer safe there." (Read more Tunisia stories.)

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