Tunisia: Rapper Weld El 15 set free with a reduced sentence

An agreement was reached to “end the prosecution of Weld El 15 in return for an apology to security officials,” according to National Union of Professional Tunisian Singers.


Instead of the two-year prison sentence handed down on 13 June 2013 for his song ‘Boulicia Kleb’, the 25-year-old artist (real name Ala Yaacoub) received a six-month suspended term.

“I’m happy to get out of jail and I will continue with my art and my music,” Yaacoub told AFP as he left the Mornag prison outside the capital.

“I was freed thanks to the support of my friends and to the pressure exerted on Tunisian authorities,” he added.

Numerous activists had called for Yaacoub’s release. Supporters greeted the outcome of his appeal as recognition by the judiciary of artistic freedom of expression. As the ruling was announced, shouts of joy erupted outside of the court of appeal in Tunis where friends and supporters of the rapper had gathered.

“It’s a victory for freedom and democracy, for Weld El 15 who did nothing wrong but made a work of art,” attorney Ghazi Mrabet said.

France24 – 3 July 2013:
Jailed Tunisian rapper to be released on appeal
Mischa BENOIT-LAVELLE reporting from Tunis (video)

Magharebia – 3 July 2013:
Weld El 15 wins appeal
Convicted Tunisian rapper Weld El 15 is free, following a surprise ruling by a Tunis appellate court on Tuesday (July 2nd).

AllAfrica – 3 July 2013:
Tunisia: Weld El 15 Wins Appeal

BBC World – 3 July 2013:
Tunisian rapper Weld El 15 released from jail
A Tunisia rapper who was jailed last month for a song in which he insulted the police has been freed.


Artsfreedom.org – 14 June 2013:
Tunisia: Rapper sentenced to two years imprisonment, violence in court
On 13 June 2013, the Tunisian rapper Weld El 15 was (again) sentenced to two years in prison for insulting the police in a song.

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