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By Godfrey Olukya 17-1-2012

16 people in Tunisia who allegedly got involved in June 2012 art exhibit regarded to be offensive to Islam have each been jailed for one month by court.

The sentence has infuriated human rights organizations and some individuals in the country. They say that it indicated that the country does not respect freedoms of press, association and assembly.

‘That is unfair. ‘said one of the human rights activists, Salim Baba.’ In this modern era we have to respect different people’s tastes and opinions.’

But some people said that they deserve a harsher punishment. Abubakar Shamuk said,  any one who tries to abuse Islam needs to be sternly punished

The defendants lawyer, Salaheddine Barakati said his clients were were convicted of violating the state of emergency. He added that they were acquitted of more serious charges including rebellion, assaulting public officials and attacks on public order by organized gangs.

Barakati said that several of his clients planned to file complaints against the state for holding them in preventative detention until November, when they were freed after a hunger strike in which two of them died.

Their arrest in June 2012 came after some Tunisian Islamists destroyed works of art exhibited in a chic suburb of Tunis which they considered blasphemous. Three months later, the Islamists attacked the US embassy in Tunis.

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