A Tunisian court has sentenced a blogger to six months in prison and a $700 fine for reposting a joke on Facebook about coronavirus written as if it were a Quranic verse.
Court spokesman Mohsen Dali said that Amna al-Sharqi’s sentence was on charges of inciting hate between religions and races.
Sharqi’s sharing of the post in May angered many religious social media users who demanded punishment because they felt the Quran had been desecrated.
The 27 year old, who blogs on freedom and women’s issues, said: “The verdict is a scandal for me. It is irrational to be accused of advocating hate among races which is irrelevant with the content of my post. Moreover, the judge has sentenced me to six months in prison and a fine. It is not reasonable to sentence me based on a post on Facebook in a country where freedom of expression prevails.
“It is a scandal towards the status of women, women are protected by the state, yet the state did not stand up for me. Instead it sentenced me to six months in prison – this is a scandal and a violation of women’s rights and freedom of expression and conscience.”
The case has also brought criticism from rights groups such as Amnesty International which said the prosecution didn’t allow Sharqi’s lawyer to accompany her to court where she was asked about her religious beliefs and mental condition.
The blogger plans to appeal within 10 days.
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