Tunisia: Heavy sentences after unfair trials
On 28 and 29 August 1992, 265 out of 279 alleged members of the illegal Islamic organization al-Nahda were given sentences ranging from one year to life imprisonment in trials which breached international standards of fairness. 56 people were tried in absentia. The defendants were tried in two groups by military courts in the military camps of Bouchoucha and Bab Saadoun on charges which included plotting to overthrow the Tunisian government. Charges were reportedly vague, individuals rarely being charged with any specific offence. Most of the defendants had been held in prolonged garde a vue detention before trial and allegedly tortured to force them to sign confessions. Most had no access to a lawyer during pre- trial detention.