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UA 66/94 - Tunisia: fear of torture in illegally prolonged incommunicado detention: Ali Mabouj

, Index number: MDE 30/005/1994

Ali Mabouj is being held in illegally prolonged garde a vue detention after his arrest on 6 February 1994. A shop-keeper in France, he had only returned to Tunisia on 1 February in order to take his wife and children with him back to France. He has reportedly never been involved in any political activities, and may have been arrested in connection with the recent imprisonment of a nephew. One of Ali Mamouj's brothers was recently arrested twice and detained for a few days. He was only released once Ali Mabouj had been arrested.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: MDE 30/05/94
Distr: UA/SC
UA 66/94 Fear of torture in illegally prolonged 22 February 1994
incommunicado detention
TUNISIA Ali MABOUJ
Amnesty International is extremely concerned that Ali Mabouj is being held
in illegally prolonged garde à vue detention and is at serious risk of torture
and ill-treatment. He was arrested on 6 February 1994 and has since been held
without access to his lawyer or family, thus breaching the Tunisian law which
allows a maximum of 10 days' incommunicado detention.
Ali Mabouj is a shopkeeper in France, and had recently received permission
from the French authorities for his family to live with him. He returned to
Tunisia on 1 February 1994 in order to bring his wife and children with him
back to France. He was arrested on 6 February from his parents' home in Ben
Guerdane (district of Medenine, near the Libyan border). His family have been
making repeated inquiries about him at police stations in the area and with
human rights authorities, but have been unable to establish his place of
detention or legal status.
Over the last three years in Tunisia, political repression, which was originally
concentrated on alleged supporters of the unauthorized islamist organization
al-Nahda, Renaissance, and those of the unauthorized Parti communiste des
ouvriers tunisiens (PCOT), Tunisian Workers' Communist Party, has extended
to include the relatives of suspected political opponents. Often, all the
members of an extended family will suffer from harassment and persecution,
the latter often in the form of repeated short-term arrests and detention,
during which time many suffer ill-treatment and even torture. Ali Mabouj has
reportedly never been involved in any political activities. He may have been
arrested in connection with the recent imprisonment of a nephew on charges
of alleged unlawful political activities. One of Ali Mabouj's brothers was
recently arrested twice and detained for a few days; after his second arrest,
he was only released once Ali Mabouj had been arrested.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Tunisian law allows a total maximum of 10 days' incommunicado detention.
However, this law is constantly breached, and families of detainees are usually
not informed of their place of detention during incommunicado detention. The
practice of torture and ill-treatment is widespread in Tunisia, and it is during
the period of incommunicado detention, when detainees are held without access
to their families or lawyers, that they are most at risk.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in French, Arabic, English or in your own language:
- expressing concern that Ali Mabouj is being held in prolonged incommunicado
detention, contravening both international standards and Tunisian law. Stress
that Article 9(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR), to which Tunisia is a state party, states that: "Anyone arrested or
detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge...";
- expressing great concern that Ali Mabouj is at risk of torture and
ill-treatment as long as he is held in incommunicado detention;
- asking to be informed of his whereabouts and any charges brought against
him;
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- urging the Tunisian authorities to allow Ali Mabouj immediate access to his
family, lawyer, and medical care if necessary. Also point out that Article
13 bis of the Tunisian Code of Criminal Procedure limits incommunicado detention
to a maximum of 10 days and allows detainees access during that time to medical
care;
- urging that no one be detained in prolonged incommunicado detention as it
is during this time that detainees are most at risk of torture and ill-treatment.
APPEALS TO: (All salutations: Excellence/Your Excellency):
1) President
M. Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
Président de la République
Palais Présidentiel
Tunis/Carthage, Tunisie
Faxes: +216 1 744 721
Telexes: 14900 prpsa tn 12163 ppsd tn
Telegrams: Président Ben Ali, Tunis, Tunisie
2) 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
3) Minister of the Interior
M. Abdallah Kallel
Ministre de l'Intérieur
Ministère de l'Intérieur
Avenue Habib Bourguiba, Tunis, Tunisie
Faxes: +216 1 340 888
Telexes: 13662 sdap tn
Telegrams: Ministre de l'Intérieur Kallel, Tunis, Tunisie
4) Minister of Foreign Affairs
M. Habib Ben Yahia
Ministre des Affaires étrangères
Ministère des Affaires étrangères
Place du Gouvernement
La Kasbah, Tunis, Tunisie
Faxes: +216 1 791005
Telexes: 14470 mafta tn, 14471 mafta tn, 14472 mafta tn
Telegrams: Ministre des Affaires étrangères Ben Yahia, Tunis, Tunisie
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
M. Iadh Ouederni
Conseiller présidentiel pour les Droits de l'Homme
Attaché à la Présidence de la République
Palais Présidentiel
Tunis/Carthage, Tunisie
Faxes: +216 1 731 009 or +216 1 742 513
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M. Mohamed Bellaji
Directeur des Affairs politiques auprès du Ministère de l'Intérieur
Ministère de l'Intérieur
Avenue Habib Bourguiba
Tunis, Tunisie
faxes: +216 1 348 365
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 4 April 1994.

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