EXTERNAL AI Index: MDE 30/38/96
19 November 1996
Further information on UA 236/94 (MDE 30/18/94, 17 June 1994) and follow-ups
(MDE 30/21/94, 22 September 1994; MDE 30/17/95, 21 August 1995; MDE 30/29/95,
5 December 1995; MDE 30/01/96, 5 January 1996) - Possible prisoner of conscience
/ Fear of unfair trial / Legal concern / Torture / Fear of torture / Unfair
trial and new concern: Prisoner of conscience
TUNISIANajib HOSNI, lawyer and human rights activist
Human rights lawyer Najib Hosni, accused of "arms possession" and "terrorism"
in a second case brought against him whilst in detention, was acquitted on
14 November 1996 for lack of proof. The other three men accused with him were
also acquitted. One of them - Mokhtar Lammouchi - had been on hunger-strike
for more than 70 days to protest his innocence.
Najib Hosni had been accused of having come into possession of arms which were
destined for the unauthorized Islamist party al-Nahda. The case rested solely
on the confession of a detainee who subsequently retracted his statement,
telling the investigating judge that he had been forced to sign a confession
against Najib Hosni under torture.
Najib Hosni, who was arrested in June 1994, remains imprisoned serving an
eight-year prison sentence on charges of "falsification of a land contract"
(see previous update, MDE 30/01/96, 5 January 1996). He has also been banned
from the Tunisian bar for seven years beginning after the expiry of his sentence.
No convincing evidence was brought forth at the trial, which took place on
3 January 1996, and the other parties to the land contract testified that Najib
Hosni was innocent. The sentence was upheld by the Tunisian Court of
"Cassation" on 16 October 1996. ("Cassation" looks at the procedures and
applications of the law, but does not re-examine the facts of a case.)
Between 8 and 16 November 1995, Najib Hosni was tortured and ill-treated at
the Tunisian Ministry of the Interior (see earlier update, MDE 30/29/95, 5
December 1995). No investigation is known to have been carried out into the
torture, and requests by his lawyers and by the Ligue Tunisienne des Droits
de l'Homme (Tunisian Human Rights League) for a medical examination and for
an investigation into the allegations of torture and ill-treatment have still
not been addressed.
Amnesty International welcomes the acquittal of Najib Hosni on charges of "arms
possession" and "terrorism", but remains deeply concerned at his imprisonment
on charges of "falsification of a land contract". Amnesty International, who
has studied the dossier in depth, considers the charges to be fabricated and
reiterates its call for Najib Hosni to be released immediately and
unconditionally as a prisoner of conscience.
This is for information only and no further action by the UA Network is requested.
Other parts of the AI movement are working for Najib Hosni's release. Many
thanks to all who took action on this case.