Emna Charqui, a 27-year-old blogger from Tunisia, has been given a jail sentence for telling people to take COVID precautions (like washing your hands)… in the style of a verse from the Qur’an.
She was initially arrested in May after sharing this image (below, left) on Facebook.
Charqui said in a recent interview that she had no intention of provoking shock, but found the post amusing.
She was found guilty in a Tunis court of “inciting hatred between religions”.
There was no hatred. There wasn’t even mockery. It was using a familiar literary trope to send a different (and important!) message. But authorities were on edge because it appeared during Ramadan. Making matters worse, Charqui also received death threats and rape threats.
Now she’s been sentenced: Six months in jail and a fine. (She faced up to three years.)
“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. I don’t have any protection so I got to the point to be afraid for my own life. I have no future in Tunisia. I am no longer safe there, “she said. However, the day the trial resumed in early July, Emna Chargui explained to France 24 that she wanted to “defend freedom of expression to the end” and “assume the sharing of the publication”.
“This is unfair and unjust … this proves that there is no freedom here,” Chargui, 27, told Reuters from home where she had been waiting for the ruling.
She plans to appeal as allowed within 10 days.
Here’s hoping she’s successful with the appeal. No one deserves to be punished by the government for a harmless post that offends people who can’t handle anything but praise for their religion.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Som for the link)