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Civil rights Web site blocked in Tunisia

Amnesty accuses Tunisian authorities of heavy-handed tactics

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Civil rights organisation Amnesty International has hit out at a bogus Amnesty site, www.anmesty-tunisia.org, based in Tunisia that has been spreading propaganda about alleged human rights abuses. The Tunisian government is accused of committing human rights abuses including arbitrary arrest and torture, but the bogus site is claiming that such accusations are not true. Amnesty believes that this site was set up by supporters of the Tunisian government. It also claims that the Tunisian government has blocked access to the real Amnesty site in Tunisia. The Tunisian government is understood to be the only service provider in the country and can restrict -- and monitor -- its citizens' Web access. Rather than sue the owners of this site, however, Amnesty has set up a page at its own site called Rhetoric vs. Reality . This shows the pro-Tunisian government site in frames and Amnesty’s rebuttal alongside. It contains a testimony from a Tunisian human rights activist and a general fact-file on Tunisia. The London based human rights organisation discovered this site by chance and believes it has been operating for around nine months. Brendan Paddy an Amnesty representative, said: "Legal actions can be very long winded, whereas setting up a parallel Web site can have immediate effect." ®

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