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TV talk-show host Amer Ayad was expecting a backlash after he used his platform to portray Tunisia’s president as an aspiring dictator. But even he was stunned by its severity.

Police seized him from his home in his pajamas, bundled him at dawn into a car in front of his wife and young sons, and hauled him before a military court, where he was charged with defaming President Kais Saied and damaging the army’s morale. He was in jail for seven weeks.

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