Following a courtroom foofaraw, the trial in Tunisia’s capital over the airing of the animated French movie Persepolis was cut short last Thursday.
The judge in Tunis was prompted to call an adjournment until January 23 after lawyers for both sides shouted at each other and traded insults.
Last month, the private Nessma television channel drew anger from Islamic fundamentalists when it broadcast a dubbed version of expatriate director Marjane Satrapi’s adaptation of her graphic novels about growing up during the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. Persepolis won the jury prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
The film includes a scene showing a character representing God. In Islam, depictions of God are considered sacrilegious.
Station owner Nabil Karoui’s home was attacked by a mob holding gasoline bombs.
“I am very sad when I see that the people that burned my house are free while I am here because I broadcast a film which was authorized,” Karoui told journalists outside the courtroom.
He called the trial against him and his station the beginning of the “death of freedom of expression.”
Under questioning from the judge, Karoui apologized for those who felt insulted by the film. He repeated his belief that the broadcast was in good faith.
During his testimony, lawyers for the two sides started insulting each other. After calm couldn’t be restored, the judge adjourned the session.