Tunisian rapper Ala Yaacoubi, also known by his rap name Weld El 15, left, speaks alongside his lawyer, Ghazi Mrabet, before his trial last month.
Credit Fethi Belaid / AFP/Getty Images
A Tunisian appeals court has freed rapper Ala Yaacoubi, who last month was sentenced to two years in prison for insulting police officers with his song "The Police Are Dogs."
Critics had said the arrest of Yaacoubi, 25, who performs under the name Weld El 15, was a sign of repression in Tunisia, where mass rallies overthrew former leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali at the start of the Arab Spring in 2011. As NPR reported that summer, several rap songs became anthems for that shift.
Just two years ago today, the effort to change regimes in many parts of the Islamic world was just beginning. And President Obama was at the U.S. State Department talking about a new chapter in American diplomacy.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It will be the policy of the United States to promote reform across the region and to support the transitions to democracy. That effort begins in Egypt and Tunisia where the stakes are high.
Tunisian soldiers stand guard as a woman holds up a poster featuring opposition leader Chokri Belaid during his funeral procession in a suburb of Tunis on Feb. 8. Belaid's assassination has laid bare the political rifts in post-revolutionary Tunisia.
The political crisis in Tunisia is deepening after last week's murder of a prominent secular politician. Tunisians are increasingly divided over their country's government and future, just two years after collectively overthrowing the dictator in a popular revolution.