Tunisian blogger appointed minister

Slim Amamou, previously tortured by the police, he has now become a minister for youth and sport.

    Amamou said there should not be an "automatic rejection" of the ruling RCD party [AFP]

    A Tunisian dissident blogger has been appointed minister for youth and sport, in what the country's prime minister had labelled a fracturing cabinet.

    Slim Amamou, the CEO of a web development company, had been an active blogger in a country once known for the world's most advanced internet censorship.

    He and fellow bloggers in Tunisia circulated news and video aimed at protesting against the former government of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

    While Amamou spread news of the protests, the state cracked down with tactics such as hacking into Facebook accounts, swiped passwords and codes and deleted entire pages.

    On January 6, Amamou was arrested by the police and accused, along with another Tunisian blogger, of being part of the operation to "destroy" government sites.

    'Excellent opportunity'

    "It was psychologically very hard, we were deprived of sleep we were handcuffed seated on a chair for five days," he told the French television.

    "They make you believe lots of things: that they're torturing your friends and family. You hear voices, people being tortured in the next room and you think it's your family. But it wasn't true."

    Amamou was released on January 13.

    He was offered a place in the interim government only minutes before the first Tunisian cabinet was announced.

    Amamou told the Guardian newspaper that it was an "excellent opportunity" and his "duty" to take part in rebuilding the country.

    He also said that the country's biggest problems were freedom of information and a justice system which was totally controlled by the former government.

    Amamou added that there should not be an "automatic rejection" of every member of the ruling RCD party.

    "This is a coalition government. So of course people won't be completely in agreement over the government's composition."

    However, he did use his Twitter account to announced that the first argument with members of the RCD was over him "not wearing a tie".

    SOURCE: Agencies


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