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Tunis:Foreign diplomats, colleagues and human rights defenders attended the trial Thursday of Tunisian lawyer Mohamed Abbou for comparing the country’s prisoners with those in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib jail.
Abbou had been in custody since the beginning of March, after he protested an invitation from President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
The start of the hearing in a packed courtroom was delayed for 45 minutes after the judge walked out when fellow-lawyers, who had staged a sit-in since his arrest, burst into the national anthem at Abbou’s appearance in the dock.
Abbou is accused of inciting violence and rebellion for an article in August 2004, when he alleged that Tunisian detainees were in a similar plight to the Iraqis who were tortured by US troops in Abu Ghraib. (afp)