Tunisia: Calls for the release of arrested rapper Klay BBJ

19 October 2015


On 17 October 2015, the public prosecution of the Court of First Instance in Tunis permitted National Security officers in Bab Swika district to arrest the rapper Klay BBJ (real name: Ahmed Ben Ahmed) along with two other men.

They were allegedly apprehended for possession of drugs. The news agency AFP quoted a judicial source as saying that the arrests could have been “linked to the consumption of narcotics”.

Ghazi Merabet, the rapper’s lawyer, said that Klay BBJ denies that he should have been using drugs.

In September 2013, Klay BBJ was imprisoned for six months for insulting a public servant. His fans believe he was imprisoned because of a song he produced where he critisised police.

Five artists and activists in Tunisia have created a video where they call for the release of Klay BBJ. The video titled ‘Seeb Klay’ – ‘Let Klay Free’ – was produced by a well-know comedian, a photographer, an ex-secretary, a rapper, and a cyber-activist, stating that they would like to protect and maintain Tunisia’s freedom of expression.

Tunisie News conveyed a message from Klay BBJ’s lawyer asking the broader civil society to interfere in the rapper’s case.

On 19 October 2015, Tunisie News stated that Klay BBJ was transferred to the Forensic Medicine Department to undergo what is called ‘anal examination’, to prove whether or not he had been taking drugs. Ghazi Merabet said that his client was undergoing severe humiliation and bad treatment. He called for the civil society to interfere to stop this ‘farce’, which he stated “targets human rights, freedom of expression and artists in the country.”


Sources in English language:

» The Daily Star – 18 October 2015:
Tunisia arrests rapper Klay BBJ: lawyer

Sources in Arabic language:

» Annahar News – 18 October 2015:
Rapper Klay BBJ arrested







Previous coverage of Klay BBJ on

» Freemuse – 21 November 2013:
Tunisian rappers in focus at Impossible Music Session

» Freemuse – 6 November 2013:
Interview with Klay BBJ, the rapper who was jailed for hating everything

» Freemuse – 29 October 2013:
New union to defend rappers’ freedom of expression

» Freemuse – 5 September 2013
Tunisia: Two rappers convicted to 21 months in prison

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