Tunisian police arrest TV station topper

Hannibal TV's Nasri accused of high treason

TUNIS, Tunisia — Police in Tunisia cracked down Sunday on key allies of the ousted president, detaining the head of a private TV station for allegedly trying to slow down the country’s nascent steps toward democracy.

The measures against former supporters of deposed President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali came amid continued street protests in the North African country’s capital, Tunis, and efforts by the tenuous interim government to heed the incessant groundswell of opposition to his old guard.

State news agency TAP reported that Larbi Nasri, the president of Hannibal TV, was arrested along with his son on charges of high treason and plotting against state security.

The station, which has become one of Tunisia’s most popular channels mainly for its sports coverage and talk shows, almost immediately stopped its broadcasts.

Nasri, who has family ties to Ben Ali’s widely despised wife, Leila Trabelsi, is accused of using his channel to “cause the revolution of the young to fail, sow chaos, incite disobedience and broadcast information” aimed to hoodwink the public, TAP said. The ultimate aim, its report said, was “to restore the dictatorship of the former president.”

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