Tunisia Frees Leading Dissident


Reuters

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia freed Thursday an outspoken critic of the country's human rights record who was first jailed in 1995, released after half a year and then arrested again eight months ago for unknown parole violations.
A senior government official gave no reason for the release of Mohamed Moaada, the 64-year-old head of a splinter group of the Movement of Democratic Socialists, one of six legal opposition parties.
He was initially sentenced to 11 years in jail on charges of having contacts with Libyan agents.
His release comes nine days after he ended a week-long hunger strike after suffering stomach bleeding.
The authorities have refused to specify how he broke parole but Moaada supporters say he was jailed again because he attacked the government for abusing human rights in a broadcast on the London-based satellite television channel, al Mustaquila.
Political sources say Moaada angered the government last year when he called on all opposition forces to unite against President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali's 14 year-old rule.