an open letter from journalist Fahem Boukadous sentenced to 4 years in prison

Posted: July 15, 2010 in open letter
Everyone is certainly aware of what I have been experiencing throughout the week elapsed, as even though I was imposed a residency at the University Hospital of Sousse Farhat Hached since July 3, 2010 due to my exposure to an acute asthma attack, and even though my lawyer presented a hospital residency certificate, the Court of Appeal of Gafsa delivered a verdict against me that consists of four years of prison. This is a serious violation of the law and an attack on one of the pillars of fair trial. In parallel with this, my room at the Department of Chest Diseases at the hospital is surrounded by several police officers who tried more than once to influence the medical staff in order to get me out of the hospital, and they are looking forward to imprisoning me as soon as I leave the hospital.

Therefore, I appeal to the public opinion, locally and internationally – foremost journalism, which I belong to – so that they know about my current dangerous situation. It is not a secret for anyone that I have been suffering from severe type of asthma in an advanced stage for 20 years, and that its successive crises exhausted my body and weakened its ability to endure. Indeed, my body is used to urgent interventions and doses of drugs that will not be available in jail. The lung rot and the blockage of breathing channels lead inexorably to the lack of oxygen levels in the brain and lose consciousness, which ushers me into a coma. Until now, accelerated artificial respiration has contributed to rescue me from certain death.
Dragging me into the holds of prison, which I know very well, will double my suffering and complicate my health; I have previously experienced this situation. Indeed, prison is synonym of overcrowding, dirt, moisture, great number of smokers, and breathlessness –especially during the summer. Besides, the prison administration will surely intervene in my medical follow-up in prison, which is already slow, inefficient or usually inexistent. Being in this kind of situation is nothing but a death sentence.
I am addressing to you this call. I bear the Tunisian authority the full responsibility of any health aggravation I will inevitably have, because leaving the hospital means going to prison/death.

When I chose the profession of journalist, I chose the row of a free speech, clean and aligned to the truth, and I know very well the price imposed on those who chose this approach, and I will not be less bold and courageous than those who preceded me in this path because I will not be embarrassed by unfair judgments and I will not avoid paying the price, even if it is my life; let my life be a ransom for freedom and democracy.

Journalist Fahem Boukadous

Correspondent for “Al Hiwar Attounousi” channel and “Al Badil” website

University Hospital of Sousse Farhat Hached

Posted via nawaat’s posterous


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