Routine abuses in the name of security in Tunisia

23 June 2008

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of people, including children, suspected of terrorism-related offences, have been arrested in Tunisia since the introduction of the Anti-Terrorism Law in 2003. Authorities use the broad definition of ‘terrorism’ in this law to criminalize legitimate and peaceful opposition activities.

Many have been tortured and otherwise ill-treated, held in incommunicado detention and subjected to enforced disappearances in the last five years. At least 977 people have been tried and sentenced since June 2006 - after unfair trials before military and other courts - to long prison terms or even death.

The Tunisian government continues to say that the human rights situation in the country is improving. The legal reforms that should offer better protection for human rights are, in practice, little more than hollow promises.

Abuses by security forces continue unabated and are committed with impunity, as the report In the Name of Security: Routine Abuses in Tunisia reveals.

Despite the record of violations, Arab and European governments and the US government have returned people they suspected of involvement in terrorism to Tunisia, where they have then suffered arbitrary arrest and detention, torture or other ill-treatment, and blatantly unfair trials.

A responsibility of all governments

The Tunisian government has a duty to protect its population from violent attacks, but when doing so it must comply with its obligations under international law. The government must condemn torture and other ill-treatment and bring to justice those responsible for authorizing and inflicting it.

Foreign governments should reject the rhetoric of the Tunisian government and face up to the reality of human rights violations in the country. Instead of forcibly returning Tunisian nationals, they should ensure that all cooperation in the context of counter-terrorism complies with human rights standards and put pressure on the Tunisian government to prevent torture and hold torturers to account.

Tunisia: In the Name of Security: Routine Abuses in Tunisia

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Index Number: MDE 30/007/2008
Date Published: 23 June 2008
Categories: Tunisia

This report covers events until mid-June 2008 and details Amnesty International’s concerns regarding the serious human rights violations that are being committed in connection with the Tunisian authorities’ security and counter-terrorism policies. These include arrest and detention practices, torture and other ill-treatment of detainees and sentenced prisoners, and unfair trials, including trials of civilians before military courts. It makes recommendations to the Tunisian government and to foreign governments co-operating with Tunisia in counter-terrorism measures.


This document is also available in:

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Tunisia: Torture, illegal detention and unfair trials

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Index Number: MDE 30/005/2008
Date Published: 23 June 2008
Categories: Tunisia

Hundreds if not thousands of young people suspected of terrorism-related offences have been arrested in Tunisia in the past five years. Many have been tortured and otherwise ill-treated, held incommunicado and subjected to enforced disappearance. Some have been sentenced after unfair trials before military and other courts to long prison terms or even death. This document urges the Tunisian authorities, amongst other things, to end impunity for the security forces; to introduce a moratorium on executions; and, to take effective measure to prevent torture and other ill-treatment.


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Spanish:
Arabic:

Tunisia: Act now for Saber Ragoubi

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Index Number: MDE 30/003/2008
Date Published: 23 June 2008
Categories: Tunisia

Saber Ragoubi was arrested as he surrendered following confrontations between the security forces and an armed group. He was tried unfairly and sentenced to death in December 2007, largely on the basis of information obtained from him and other co-defendants under torture. This document urges the Tunisian authorities to retry in proceedings that meet international fair trial standards or release Saber Ragoubi; to ensure that allegations of torture are promptly investigated and to commute the death sentence imposed on him.


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Arabic:

Tunisia: Act now for Houssine Tarkhani

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Index Number: MDE 30/004/2008
Date Published: 23 June 2008
Categories: Tunisia

Houssine Tarkhani was forcibly returned from France to Tunisia, and was detained on arrival in Tunis on 3 June 2007. Houssine Tarkhani has been charged with terrorist offences and is awaiting trial. His lawyer’s request that he receive a medical examination for evidence of torture remains unanswered. This document urges the Tunisian authorities to ensure that the allegations that Houssine Tarkhani was tortured are thoroughly investigated; to ensure that he is fairly tried and to take effective measures to prevent torture, incommunicado detention and enforced disappearance.


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Spanish:
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