EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: MDE 30/06/90
UA 519/90 Death Penalty 28 December 1990
TUNISIA Lamari Dali
Lamari Dali, a former Tunisian diplomat aged 59, was convicted by a
Criminal Court of high treason and sentenced to death on 25 December
1990. The trial lasted one day and was held in camera; even members
of the defendant's family were denied access to the proceedings. Lamari
Dali's defence lawyers have lodged an appeal before the Cassation Court,
a higher court which reviews appeals on points of law. It is not known
when this appeal will be held. If the verdict is upheld the sentence
will have to be ratified by the head of state and the execution could
be carried out immediately afterwards.
The family of Lamari Dali has alleged that he was tortured and
ill-treated while held in incommunicado detention after his arrest on
16 October 1990. A former counsellor in the Tunisian embassies in Madrid,
Bonn and Berlin and the head of the African desk in the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Lamari Dali was accused of spying for an unspecified foreign
government, a charge which he denied.
The Tunisian newspaper "La Presse" reported that he was caught as
he was about to hand documents to agents of a foreign power. His family
has claimed that he was being victimised because of a letter he had written
to President Ben Ali complaining about the increasing militarization
of the Tunisian diplomatic service.
In March 1988 President Ben Ali told to Amnesty International
delegates that he was personally opposed to the death penalty and would
not sign any death warrant himself. In Novembe 1990, however, he
authorized the first execution since he came to power in November 1987,
that of Nacer Damergi, convicted of the sexual assault and murder of
12 children aged between seven and 20.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases as
a violation of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment, as proclaimend
by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters
in FRENCH if possible:
- expressing concernat the death sentence passed on Lamari Dali;
- expressing concern that, as the trial was held in camera, it is not
clear that it was fair and that the proceedings met international