Saturday, February 25, 2023

Amnesty to Tunisia: stop trying civilian in military courts

Amnesty International has issued this statement concerning Tunisia:

End human rights backsliding in Tunisia

Tunisia’s post-revolution achievements are at risk. Since his power grab on 25 July 2021, President Kais Saied granted himself sweeping powers and has debilitated key institutions for human rights protection, threatening freedom of expression, association, fair trial, and other rights.

High-profile Tunisian journalists, parliamentarians, and other political figures, including critics and perceived opponents of the president have been targeted for opposing the president’s power grab. They have faced arbitrary travel bans, at times arrest or criminal investigations and prosecutions before the courts. The prosecution of civilians by military courts has dramatically increased with at least 12 civilians tried over the past year, including for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression. 

Over the past months, President Saied has repeatedly attacked the independence of the judiciary by dissolving the High Judicial Council, an institution set to shield the judiciary from interference by the executive branch. Saied also granted himself broad powers to intervene in the appointment and dismissal of judges and prosecutors, leading to the arbitrary dismissal of 57 judges.

Since the 2011 revolution, Tunisia has been a safe haven for civil society organizations because Decree-Law 2011-88 allowed civic space to blossom and thrive. However, in early 2022, a draft decree-law amending that law was leaked, containing provisions that would significantly restrict the work and funding of civil society organizations.

Act now and urge the Tunisian President to:

•        Stop the prosecution of civilians before military courts.

•        Reinstate the recently dissolved High Judicial Council and protect judges from dismissal by the President.

•        Refrain from adopting new legislation that would threaten freedom of association.

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