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Tunisia: Fear of torture / legal concern: Tahir Zouinekh

, Index number: MDE 30/004/1995

Tahir Zouinekh has been held incommunicado in an unknown place since his arrest in Gabes on 27 December 1994. This is far beyond the legal limit of 10 days permitted by Tunisian law. AI fears that he is at risk of torture or ill-treatment as long as he remains in incommunicado detention. His arrest appears to be associated with the fact that a family member who lives in Germany (where Tahir Zouinekh also resides) is a political refugee.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: MDE 30/04/95
Distr: UA/SC
UA 40/95 Fear of torture / Legal concern 17 February 1995
Tahir Zouinekh has been held incommunicado in an unknown place since his arrest
in Gabès on 27 December 1994, far beyond the legal limit permitted by Tunisian
law. He is at risk of torture or ill-treatment as long as he remains
On 25 December, Tahir Zouinekh returned from visiting his relatives in Germany.
The following day he was summoned by police in Gabès and questioned about
his relatives in Germany, one of whom is a political refugee. On 27 December,
he was summoned three more times by the police and then detained. Despite
repeated inquiries with the local police and judicial authorities, Tahir
Zouinekh's family has been unable to establish where he is being held.
Tunisian law limits garde à vue (incommunicado) detention to a maximum of 10
days; the law also stipulates that garde à vue detention may only be extended
after the first four days by written order of the procureur de la République
(public prosecutor).
Over the past year several people have been arrested after returning to Tunisia
from abroad. Some live abroad, while others had been on holiday or had visited
relatives who live abroad. All have been questioned about the activities of
their Tunisian relatives or friends abroad, especially if these are political
refugees or government opponents. Most of them were accused of providing links
between Tunisian political refugees and political opponents abroad, and were
sentenced to terms of imprisonment. Other relatives of Tunisian political
refugees abroad have frequently been detained by police for questioning about
the whereabouts and activities of their relatives abroad and threatened with
imprisonment if they do not provide information such as addresses and telephone
numbers of their relatives. Wives and children of Tunisian political refugees
abroad are prevented from leaving the country to go to join their husbands.
A new article added in November 1993 to the Tunisian Code of Penal Procedure
made it possible to imprison Tunisian nationals for peaceful activities in
other countries, such as meetings, which are considered an offence in Tunisia
- even if these are not considered an offence in the country where they took
place. Several prisoners of conscience have already been imprisoned under
this new law.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in French/Arabic/English or in your own language:
- expressing concern at the prolonged incommunicado detention of Tahir Zouinekh
beyond the maximum legal limit permitted by Tunisian law;
- urging that his family be told where he is being held and that he be allowed
immediate access to his relatives, lawyer and to medical care if necessary.
1) Minister of Justice
M. Sadok Chaâbane
Ministre de la Justice
Ministère de la Justice
Boulevard Bab Benat
Tunis, Tunisie
Faxes: +216 1 568 106 or +216 1 567 070
Telexes: 13000 maet tn (via Ministère de l'Intérieur)
Telegrams: Ministre de la Justice Chaâbane, Tunis, Tunisie
Salutation: Excellence / Your Excellency
2) Minister of the Interior
M. Mohamed Jegham
Ministre de l'Intérieur
Ministère de l'Intérieur
Av Habib Bourguiba
Faxes: +216 1 340888
Telexes: 13662 sdap tn
Telegrams: Ministre de l'Intérieur, Tunis, Tunisie
Salutation: Excellency / Your Excellency
M. Salem Makki
Conseiller Présidentiel chargé des droits de l'homme
Palais Présidentiel
Faxes: +216 1 731 009 or +216 1 742 513
Me Taoufik Bouderbala, Président
Ligue Tunisienne des Droits de l'Homme, LTDH
21 Rue Imam el Bakri
1002 TUNIS Belvedere
Faxes: +216 1 801599
and to diplomatic representatives of Tunisia accredited to your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 1 April 1995.

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