TUNIS - Tunisian blogger Sofian Shurabi, a scathing critic of deposed president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, said he was arrested on Sunday, as websites said he was caught drinking alcohol in public during Ramadan.
Chourabi was with another journalist, Mohammed Yassin Jelassi and a girl on the beach of El Mansura, a neighbourhood of Kelibia, a few kilometres from Menzel Temim. The beach, where the trio had set up a tent, is known to be particularly deserted, the same sources indicated.
"I was arrested at the police station Menzel Temime," eastern Tunisia, he wrote on his Facebook page, without giving details.
The interior ministry could not be reached for comment but Tunisian online media said Shurabi was arrested drinking alcohol on a beach.
The case has been transferred to the Prosecutor for the First instance Court in Nabeul, and the arrested trio will be heard tomorrow Monday, August 6. They will remain under arrest until then. The prosecutor will decide whether to refer the matter to court or not.
Being drunk in public is punishable by 15 days in jail in Tunisia and drinking alcohol is an offence during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which started on July 20.
Shurabi, who works for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, was popular for his scathing blogs targeting the regime of Ben Ali that was toppled in January 2011.
Shurabi organised one of the first political protests in Tunis in December 2010.
Like several other civil society members, Shurabi has expressed fear of a creeping Islamisation in Tunisia, where the government is dominated by the Islamist party Ennahda, allied with two centre-left movements.