EXTERNAL AI Index: MDE 30/12/96
EXTRA 64/96 Fear of ill-treatment or torture / Probable
Prisoner of Conscience 13 May 1996
TUNISIAFrej FENNICHE, human rights activist
Amnesty International is seriously concerned at the arrest and incommunicado
detention of Frej Fenniche, executive director of the Institut arabe des droits
de l'homme (IADH, Arab Institute of Human Rights), which is based in Tunis.
Frej Fenniche was arrested at Tunis airport on 10 May 1996 as he was about
to board a plane to France. He had been invited to represent the IADH at a
meeting of the Observatoire méditerranéen des droits de l'homme (a transnational
non-governmental human rights organization) in Montpellier, France. After
24 hours of silence the Tunisian authorities confirmed detaining him at the
Ministry of the Interior, and having confiscated some of the documents he was
taking to the conference.
In the last two years human rights and political activists in Tunisia have
often been prevented by the Tunisian authorities from leaving their country
to taking part in international conferences to which they had been invited.
Amnesty International is concerned that Frej Fenniche may be at risk of torture
whilst he is being detained in incommunicado detention and that he appears
to be held solely on account of his human rights activities.
Arrests, detentions, torture and ill-treatment, imprisonment of prisoners of
conscience, unfair trials and systematic harassment have been increasingly
used in Tunisia to punish, intimidate and silence opposition political
activists, government critics, human rights activists and others in Tunisia
over the past few years.
Amnesty International has continued to document and condemn such human rights
violations in Tunisia, and to call on the Tunisian authorities to take concrete
steps to put an end to such practices. However, despite the Tunisian
Government's public statements about its commitment to respecting human rights,
no concrete action has been taken to address these concerns.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in French, Arabic or English or your own language:
- expressing concern that Frej Fenniche may be at risk of torture or
ill-treatment whilst he is held in incommunicado detention, and urging that
he be allowed prompt access to his family, lawyers and medical examination;
- expressing concern that he appears to be detained solely on account of his
human rights work. If so, he should be released immediately and unconditionally.
1) Minister of Justice
M. Sadok Chaâbane
Ministre de la Justice
Ministère de la Justice
Boulevard Bab Benat
Faxes: +216 1 568 106