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Tunisian journalists’ syndicate praises Assad, condemns bin Salman: activists

The Arab World | 2018-11-27 22:00:00
Tunisian journalists’ syndicate praises Assad, condemns bin Salman: activists
   Tunisian journalists’ syndicate president Naji Baghouri
(Zaman Al Wasl)- One of the most annoying campaigns against the Saudi Crown Prince's visit to Tunisia was led by the Tunisian journalists’ syndicate which mounted on its wall a vast banner depicting the prince holding a chainsaw, representing the gruesome dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi. 

Syndicate president Naji Baghouri said the “blood of Khashoggi is not yet cold and the murder bin Salman is not welcome in Tunisia”. 

But Baghouri's statement has recalled his newly-visit to Damascus and shaking hands with the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

Prominent media figures and social media activists say al-Assad has his own chainsaw, which seemed not visible to Baghouri. He demonstrated double standards, they said.

A dozen civil society organisations claimed the tour was intended to cleanse the crown prince’s image and ignore “flagrant human rights violations and suppression of freedom of speech” in Saudi Arabia.

Tunisians consider themselves the voice of Arabs not permitted to protest by authoritarian leaders

From Tunisia and after the couple-of-hours visit, the prince is set to go to Algeria and Mauritania before flying to Buenos Aires, where judicial authorities, at the instigation of Human Rights Watch, have begun to investigate him for war crimes in Yemen and Khashoggi’s murder.

Prince Mohammed began his tour in the Emirates with consultations with Abu Dhabi crown prince Mohamed bin Zayed, his partner in the Yemen war. The crown prince flew to Bahrain, where Saudi troops have protected Sunni rulers from the Shia majority demanding political rights.
Tunisia was the fourth stop on his first foreign tour since the widely condemned murder of Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi on October 2nd at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The crown prince was warmly welcomed by Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi.

The president’s office said Tunisia condemns the murder of Khashoggi and calls for a full investigation but does not want to see Saudi Arabia destabilised. Tunisia, like many Arab countries, has long benefitted from Saudi largesse.

Despite the Khashoggi affair and repeated demands for the extradition of ousted president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who remains a fugitive in Saudi Arabia, Tunisia held joint exercises with the Saudi air force last month.

Tunisia was the sole country to emerge from the 2011 Arab Spring as a democracy in which citizens enjoy freedom of expression, but there is a sharp disconnect between its leaders and its people over the Saudi crown prince. Tunisian lawyers filed for a court order to bar his visit. (Zaman Al Wasl, Agencies)

Zaman Al Wasl
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