Rapper Weld el 15 gets two years in jail for calling police dogs in song
Friday 22 March 2013
A Tunisian court has sentenced a rap singer to two years in jail in absentia for insulting the police in a case likely to fuel debate over free speech under the Islamist-led government.
The singer, known as Weld el 15, is on the run. Two of his associates, singers Mohamed Hedi Belgueyed and Sabrine Klibi, were in court when they received suspended sentences of six months each, a Justice Ministry source said on Friday.
Belgueyed and Klibi were arrested earlier this month for a music video in which lyrics sung by Weld el 15 describe police as dogs and accuse them of using violence unjustifiably.
The two men asked the judge to pardon them before the sentences were handed down at Thursday's court proceedings.
"I was only using the language of the police. They have harassed me verbally and physically. As an artist, the only way I could answer them is through art. I gave them a violent art," Weld el 15 said in a video posted on Facebook.
Secular groups say freedom of creativity and expression are threatened under a coalition led by Tunisia's moderate Islamist Ennahda party, a charge the government denies.
In particular, they accuse authorities of failing to prevent attacks by militant Islamist Salafis on cultural institutions and individuals. Salafis disrupted several concerts and plays last year, saying they violated Islamic principles.
They also ransacked the US embassy in September during worldwide Muslim protests over an Internet video.
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 I was raped by another man. And now the Government wants to take away the one thing that saved my life
- 2 Preston fan who appeared to snatch Jermaine Beckford's shirt from eight-year-old boy identified and says: 'the truth will come out'
- 3 Priest warns pupils the 'Charlie Charlie Challenge' is 'demonic activity'
- 4 Iran launches anti-Isis cartoon competition 'to expose true nature of Islamic State'
- 5 US warned by Chinese media to stop meddling or 'war will be inevitable'
Stolen Instagram photo sells for $90,000
Suicide Squad: leaked footage gives us first look at Batmobile chasing Joker through city streets
ASAP Rocky releases star-studded new album 'At. Long. Last. ASAP' a week early
Game of Thrones, Season 5, Episode 7: Why two of the show's most iconic characters just met
Never Mind the Buzzcocks axed after 18 years
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote