A prominent political cartoonist in Tunisia announced he was released from custody Friday on his Facebook page. Tunisian authorities arrested Tawfiq Omrane, well-known for publishing satirical drawings of political figures on his Facebook page, on Thursday on suspicion of insulting Prime Minister Ahmed Al-Hasani through his cartoons.The Public Prosecutor’s office authorized Omrane’s arrest on suspicion of insulting the Prime Minister through his social media posts. Omrane said that two police officers showed up at his house on Thursday. They took him to police headquarters in Muqreen, where they interrogated him about his religious and political affiliations. He was interrogated on three counts of insulting Al-Hasani and on one count of insulting public utility companies.While the Public Prosecutor did allow Omrane’s release, the case remains ongoing. The artist has been summoned to appear at the Court of First Instance of Tunisia on Monday.Omrane’s arrest is the latest in a series of erosions of the civic freedoms hard-fought for and won in the 2011 Revolution. When President Kais Saied came to power in 2019, he began cracking down on political rivals and punishing dissent. In 2021, he issued an emergency declaration assuming all executive power and firing the then-Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi. Last month, Saied vowed to target unlawful content on social media, including media containing “rumors” and “slander.” The developments have sparked concerns among human rights organizations. In June, Amnesty International called upon the UN Human Rights Council to address the “rapidly growing rights crisis” in the country.According to a statement from Al-Hasani, he was not aware of the arrest and interrogation of Omrane.

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