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Rapper arrested on drug charges not for criticising government: Tunisian interior ministry

The Tunisian interior ministry denies that the rapper Volcanis was arrested for his song 'Nothing Has Changed'

Ahram Online, Sunday 29 Jan 2012

The Tunisian Ministry of Interior denies that the Tunisian rapper, Anis Mrabti (aka Volcanis) was detained for his song Matbadal Sheia (Nothing Has Changed).

According to Tunisia Live website, Mrabti’s father stated that was taken from his home on Wednesday 25 January by six plainclothed men. His MP3 player and desktop were confiscated as he was taken away in a tinted-glass civilian car.

Mrabti is facing drug-related charges, but the fact that his song, Nothing Has Changed, is critical of the current socio-economic-political situation in Tunisia rings an alarm.

This wouldn't be the first time, then, that authorities detain a rapper whose lyrics rebuke the government.

The rapper Hamada Ben-Amor, was detained for three days on 5 January 2011 during the protests that led to the ousting of then-president Ben Ali.

According to Reuters, Ben-Amor, who is better known in Tunisian cyberspace as The General, created a song about the problems of youth unemployment; the focus of much of the unrest that led to the uprising.

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