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Arabic press review: Tunisian arrested after pro-revolution Facebook post

Meanwhile, Egyptians grow frustrated over credit card restrictions abroad and cases of child marriage in Morocco see post-Covid jump
A man draped in a Tunisian national flag stands before security forces at a demonstration demanding an inquiry to determine the fate of migrants in Zarzis on 18 November 2022 (AFP)
A man draped in a Tunisian national flag stands before security forces at a demonstration demanding an inquiry to determine the fate of migrants in Zarzis on 18 November 2022 (AFP)

Tunisia blogger arrested over Facebook post

Tunisian authorities arrested an activist and blogger on Wednesday over a Facebook post in which he called for a revolution, the London-based Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported on Thursday. 

Hamza al-Obeidi was taken to custody in the Kasserine Governorate after saying on Facebook: "To the revolution, to the streets again. The revolution continues."

Al-Obeidi's arrest has raised fears among human rights activists that Tunisian authorities are accelerating their crackdown on freedom of expression using a newly-introduced cybercrime law.

The Decree-Law 2022-54, issued by President Kais Saied in September, has been criticised by Amnesty International as a potential "tool of repression".

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Violators of the law could get sentences as high as 10 years in prison.

Several Tunisians have been referred to the judiciary based on the decree, including politician Ayachi Hammami and journalist Nizar Bahloul.

Credit card restrictions frustrate Egyptians

Many Egyptians have complained about recent constraints placed on credit card users by the central bank, the London-based Arabi 21 news website reported on Thursday.

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Last month, the Central Bank of Egypt instructed banks to restrict the use of credit cards outside of Egypt in a bid to control the misuse of credit cards overseas amid a shortage of hard currency. Spending limits for some cards were set as low as $100 a month.

But some users say these restrictions have led to essential transactions being completely blocked. 

According to Arabi21, one Egyptian woman said she informed her bank that she was planning to use her credit card in France for cancer treatment before travelling. However, she was surprised to see her card get blocked once she arrived there. 

The growing frustration comes as the Egyptian pound continues to fall to record levels against the US dollar due to the central bank's decision to devalue the currency in October in an effort to clinch a loan deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

On Thursday, the pound closed at 27.11 per dollar, according to the central bank. Black market dealers on the street were offering up to 40 pounds to the dollar.

Cases of child marriages increase in Morocco  

The number of child marriages recorded in Morocco saw a jump in 2021 after a lull during the Covid-19 pandemic, officials have said.

Abdellatif Ouahbi, the country's justice minister, said 19,369 child marriages were registered in 2021, the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper reported on Thursday. 

In 2020, around 12,000 were recorded in a significant drop compared to recent years. In 2017, 26,298 cases were recorded.

The increase in numbers in 2021 prompted Ouahbi to call for a complete ban on child marriages. 

Moroccan law prohibits marriage for persons under the age of 18, but grants judges the right to agree to make exceptions if they deem there is a valid reason for it.

*Arabic press review is a digest of news reports not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.