Tunisian rapper Klay BBJ jailed for six months
- 26 September 2013
- From the section Africa
Tunisian rapper Ahmed Ben Ahmed, known as Klay BBJ, has been sentenced to six months in jail for insulting the authorities in his songs.
He lost his appeal after he and fellow rapper Weld El 15 were found guilty last month of insulting the police at a concert in the resort of Hammamet.
They two had been sentenced in absentia in August to 21 months in prison.
Weld El 15, who has been in trouble before for his song The Police Are Dogs, did not appeal and is on the run.
Tunisia is the birthplace of the Arab Spring.
A coalition led by the moderate Islamist Ennahda party is in government following the overthrow of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011 and elections later in that year.
"Our songs criticise the current situation in Tunisia and the government, no more and no less," AFP news agency quotes Klay BBJ as saying in court.
"I am among the rappers most critical of the government and that is why [the authorities] are after me," he said.
But the judge rejected his appeal and said the six-month sentence would begin immediately
As he was led out of court in Hammamet to a prison van his supporters chanted "Free Klay BBJ", the Associated Press reports.
His lawyer, Ghazi Mrabet, said another appeal would be lodged.
"It is a new injustice targeting artists. I will appeal and continue the fight," he told AFP.
Weld El 15, whose real name is Ala Yaacoubi, was given a two-year sentence in June for his song The Police Are Dogs.
His sentence was suspended in July and he was released from prison. But he went into hiding following his latest conviction in August.