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Sunday, December 30, 2012

"Moderate" Islamist in Tunisia calls for 80 lashes against journalists who spread "rumors"

The leader of the ruling "moderate" Ennahda Islamist party in Tunisia issued a fatwa to give 80 lashes for anyone who "spreads rumors without evidence."

Rashid Al-Ghannushi made his statement on Friday.

He was referring to recent Tunisian news reports criticizing Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abu Salam. According to the reports, started on social media, Salam had been repeatedly staying in a luxury Sheraton hotel with a woman who was not his wife, and he was charging the government for the hotel room. The Tunisian media has dubbed this "Sheratongate."

Salam, after initially denying the rumor, changed his tune on Saturday after hotel receipts were produced. He then said that the woman was his cousin and that he sometimes stayed late at work and found it more convenient to go to a nearby hotel in Tunis then to commute home, and that all of the expenses were transparent. The Foreign Ministry that he leads also issued a statement also claiming that he did nothing wrong.

(h/t Lachlan)