EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: MDE 30/14/94
11 May 1994
Further information on UA 69/94 (MDE 30/06/94, 22 February 1994) - and follow-ups
(MDE 30/07/94, 1 March, MDE 30/09/94, 11 March, MDE 30/10/94, 18 March and
MDE 30/12/94, 8 April) - Health Concern/Torture and Prisoner of Conscience
and new concern: Cruel Degrading Treatment/Legal Concern
TUNISIA:Hamma HAMMAMI, member of the unauthorized Parti communiste des ouvriers
tunisiens (PCOT), Tunisian Workers' Communist Party
Amnesty International is concerned that Hamma Hammami, a prisoner of conscience
imprisoned since his arrest on 14 February 1994, was subjected to cruel and
degrading treatment and was denied access to his lawyers during his
hunger-strike from 1 to 10 May 1994.
After he began his hunger-strike in protest at his imprisonmenmt he was
transferred from Sousse prison to Messadine and then to 9 Avril Prison in Tunis.
For the entire duration of his hunger-strike he was held in solitary confinement
and was denied access to his lawyers, in breach of both Tunisian law and
international standards. For several days after his transfer from Sousse
prison his families and lawyers were unable establish his whereabouts.
During his time in 9 Avril Prison he was kept permanently in chains attached
to one foot, was denied access to toilet facilities and had to urinate in a
bottle, and was refused sugar to take with his water (the usual form of nutrition
taken by hunger-strikers).
The appeal hearings for both of Hamma Hammami's trials have been postponed
to 30 May and 20 June 1994. He was sentenced to five years and six months'
imprisonment in Sousse, and to four years and one month's imprisonment in Gabes.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and
airmail letters in French, Arabic, English or in your own language:
- deploring the fact that Hamma Hammami was kept in chains and denied proper
access to toilet facilities, stating that this practice breaches international
standards such as the United Nations' Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment
of Prisoners (UN Standard Minimum Rules), which state in Rule 33 that "...chains
or irons shall not be used as restraints", and in Rule 12 that every prisoner
should be enabled "...to comply with the needs of nature when necessary and
in a clean and decent manner";
- deploring the cruel and degrading conditions to which he was subjected, stating
that these breach the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR), to which Tunisia is a state party and which states in Article 7 that
"No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
- deploring that he was denied access to his lawyers, in violation of Article
70 of the Tunisian Code de Procedure Penale provides that under no circumstances
should lawyers be denied access to their clients until final judgment has been
- urging the Tunisian authorities to ensure that such violations of both
International standards and Tunisian law are not repeated;