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TUNIS, A Tunisian court on Thursday detained a journalist who criticised police and the interior minister, the main journalism union said, denouncing a setback in freedom of expression since President Kais Saied seized executive power last summer.

Chahrazed Akacha was the second journalist to be imprisoned within a month, after another was jailed for a week in March for publishing a story on militants.

The union said Akacha's arrest was due to a Facebook post in which she criticised the interior minister and accused police of insulting and beating her in the street last week.

In her post, Akacha called on interior minister to control his policemen, describing them as "dogs", after she said they beat her, insulted her and took off her veil.

The police and interior ministry were not immediately available for comment.

Improved speech and press freedoms were a key gain for Tunisians after the 2011 revolution that ended the rule of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and triggered the Arab spring protests.

However, the democratic system adopted after the uprising is in deep crisis after President Saied seized executive power and brushed aside the constitution to rule by decree, a move opponents called a coup.

Last month, Saied dissolved the parliament, sparking widespread anger at home and abroad.

Saied, who became prominent as a law professor when he started appearing on media shows to talk about the constitution after 2011, says he respects all freedoms and rights and will not become a dictator.

Critics say his actions, which also include replacing a body that guaranteed judicial independence, show he is determined to cement one-man rule.

Source: Reuters

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