Tunisian court orders fine on TV station owner
TUNIS, Tunisia - A lawyer says a Tunisian court has fined the head of a private TV station for allegedly disrupting public order by airing an animated film that some religious groups claim violates Islamic principles.
The court in Tunis ordered Nessma TV station owner Nabil Karoui to pay 1,400 dinars (€700; $920) for showing the animated film "Persepolis" in October. The film includes a depiction of God, seen by some as sacrilegious.
Defence lawyer Abada Kefi said in its ruling Thursday that the court also threw out a charge of "offence against a sacred item."
The lawyer said he would appeal the verdict.
The legal battle has underscored a struggle between secularists and hardline Islamists in Tunisia in the wake of last year's overthrow of longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali — the first Arab Spring uprising.
After Nessma TV aired the film dubbed into Tunisian dialect several angry demonstrations erupted led by ultraconservative Muslims known as Salafis, culminating in the firebombing of the station owner's house.
Large crowds had protested outside the court house both for and against the TV station when the trial began, including Salafis chanting: "Secularists, you have no place in Tunisia!"
The film won the jury prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
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