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UA 81/92 - Tunisia: legal concern / fear of torture: Azzeddine Hadj Belgacem

, Index number: MDE 30/014/1992

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: MDE 30/14/92
Distr: UA/SC
UA 81/92 Legal Concern/fear of torture 6 March 1992
TUNISIA: Azzeddine Hadj Belgacem
Amnesty International is concerned that Azzeddine Hadj Belgacem is being held
incommunicado in prolonged garde à vue detention and may be at risk of torture.
Azzeddine Hadj Belgacem, a 33-year-old accountant from Gabes, was arrested
on 7 February 1992 and held in garde á vue detention. His family were allowed
to leave clothes for him at Gabes police station, but have not been allowed
to visit him nor have they been given any information on his legal status.
He was, however, taken under police guard to his office for a work related
interview with the representative of a foreign company he was working for.
The representative stated that he seemed to have been "physically abused" and
described his appearance as "gaunt, dirty and exhausted" .
Azzeddine Hadj Belgacem was previously arrested in June 1987 and was sentenced
to two years', later extended to ten years', imprisonment for charges including
membership of an unauthorised organization. He was released by Presidential
Pardon on 28 December 1987 after President Ben Ali came to power. It is thought
that his current detention is based on his earlier arrest as all available
information suggests that he has not been participating in any political
activity. Azzeddine Hadj Belgacem suffers from a detached retina dating from
his time in prison in 1987. Recurrence of this problem may result in the loss
of his eyesight.
Over the past 18 months hundreds of detainees in Tunisia have been tortured
and ill-treated during illegally prolonged garde à vue detention.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters (in French or Arabic if possible):
- urging that Azzeddine Hadj Belgacem be allowed immediate access to his family
and lawyers, and that he receive any necessary medical care;
- urging that Azzeddine Hadj Belgacem be immediately released unless charged
with a recognizable criminal offence and brought to trial;
- expressing concern that Azzeddine Hadj Belgacem is being held in illegally
prolonged garde à vue detention.
1. Minister of the Interior:
M. Abdallah Kallel
Ministre de l'Interieur
Ministère de l'Interieur
Avenue Habib Bourguiba
Tunis, Tunisie
Telegrams: Ministre Interieur, Tunis, Tunisia
Telexes: 13662 sdap tn
Salutation: Excellence / Your Excellency
Page 2 of UA 81/92
2. Minister of Justice:
M. Abderrahim Zouari
Ministre de la Justice
Ministère de la Justice
Boulevard Bab Benat
Tunis, Tunisie
Telegrams: Ministre Justice, Tunis, Tunisia
Faxes: + 216 1 568 106
Salutation: Excellence / Your Excellency
3. Chief of Police
Gabes Central Police Station
Abul Ash-Shabbi Street
Telegrams: Chief of Police, Gabes Central Police Station, Gabes, Tunisia
Salutation: Monsieur / Dear Sir
First Presidential Counsellor for Human Rights:
M. Sadok Chaabane
Conseiller Présidentiel chargé des Droits de l'Homme
Palais Présidentiel
Faxes: + 216 1 744721 or 742513
Human Rights Organization:
Ligue Tunisienne de la Défense des Droits de l'Homme
23 rue du Yemen
Tunis, Tunisia
Faxes: + 216 1 795 466
and to diplomatic representatives of Tunisia in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat
or your section Office if sending appeals after 17 April 1992.

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