Real Madrid player Sami Khedira
Real Madrid player Sami Khedira Reuters

Two newspaper editors and their publisher have been arrested in Tunisia for publishing a photo of Real Madrid footballer Sami Khedira posing with his topless German model girlfriend Lena Gercke.

The photo,which originally ran on the cover of the March 2012 issue of the German edition of GQ magazine, was re-published on the front page of the Tunisian daily Attounissia .

It shows the German-Tunisan football star in a tuxedo covering his girlfriend's breasts with his hands.

According to the online edition of the Tunisian paper, the three men have been charged with an assault on public morality. Prosecutors have launched an inquiry into their decision to publish the photo.

Chokri Nafti, a spokesman for Tunisia's Ministry of Justice, confirmed that publisher Nasreddine Ben Said, editor-in-chief Hbib Guizani and world editor Hedi Hidhri had been detained.

A journalist at the newspaper said it had received anonymous calls threatening to burn down the editorial building.

The National Union of Tunisian Journalists has condemned the arrests.