Sihem Bensedrine, Tunisia

Sihem Bensedrine is known as a tireless press freedom fighter and human rights activist in Tunisia. Her professional background includes work as a reporter, editor-in-chief at five newspapers, several of which were banned by the government including Kalima and Blanc sur Noir. She also founded and directed Arcs Editions Publishing House, and another publishing house Les editions Aloès which was raided three times by the police and was closed shortly thereafter. She is also the co-founder of Tunisia's Human Rights League. For her work she has been threatened, there was a pornographic campaign against her, her passport was confiscated for three years, and her telephone and internet have been cut and placed under surveillance. In May 2000 she was arrested and tortured by the police resulting in several broken ribs, an injury to her spinal cord and black eyes. She was arrested again on June 26, 2001, and detained for six weeks after an appearance on British television in which she criticized the Tunisian government of President Zine Al-Abdine Ben Ali. She is currently spending a year in Germany at the Hamburg Foundation for the Politically Persecuted. She continues to expose the wide-spread human rights abuses in Tunisia, which is a popular German tourist destination.
International Press Freedom Award
2004

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