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Tunisia: Further information on fear of torture / ill-treatment / fear of further possible arrests / prisoners of conscience

, N° d'index: MDE 30/010/1998

Qais Ouislati, Noureddine Benticha, Ali Jallouli, Lotfi Hammami, Taha Sassi, Sabri Ben Belgacem and new names: Jalal Bouraqui, Jalloul Ouislati, Chedli Hammami, all university students except Chedli Hammami; new names: Hinda Aaroui (f), Imen Derouiche (f), Najib Baccouchi, Hamma Hammami, husband of Radhia Nasraoui, Abdelmajid Sahraoui, Fahem Boukaddous, Radhia Nasraoui, lawyer representing the above: Two women, Hinda Aaroui and Imen Derouiche, and one man, Najib Baccouchi, a former POC, have also been arrested in connection with the February student strikes. All 15 of the above-named detainees have now been brought before the examining magistrate, charged and transferred to prison. Four people (Hamma Hammami, Abdelmajid Sahraoui, Fahem Boukaddous and Radhia Nasraoui) were charged in absentia. Hamma Hammami, Abdelmajid Sahraoui and Fahem Boukaddous are all former prisoners of conscience and are being sought by the police. Radhia Nasraoui, a well-known human rights lawyer acting on behalf of those charged, is currently out of the country attending a trial observation. AI considers the 15 above-mentioned detainees to be prisoners of conscience.

PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 30/10/98
13 March 1998
Further information on UA 59/98 (MDE 30/05/98, 24 February 98) and follow-ups
(MDE 30/06/98, 26 February 1998 and MDE 30/07/98, 6 March 1998) - Fear of Torture
/ Ill-treatment / Fear of further possible arrests / Prisoners of conscience
TUNISIAQais OUISLATI
Noureddine BENTICHA
Ali JALLOULI
Lotfi HAMMAMI
Taha SASSI
Jalal BOURAOUI
Jalloul OUISLATI (reportedly released)
Chedli HAMMAMI
Rachid TRABELSI
Bourhan GASMI
Miled BELANES (released on 6 March 1998)
Haikal MANNAI
Ridha OUISLATI
Habib HASNI (corrected name; previously as HARZI)
New Names: Hinda AAROUI (F)
Imen DEROUICHE (F)
Najib BACCOUCHI
Hamma HAMMAMI, husband of Radhia Nasraoui (charged
in absentia)
Abdelmajid SAHRAOUI (charged in absentia)
Fahem BOUKADDOUS (Charged in absentia)
Radhia Nasraoui, lawyer representing the above
(charged in absentia)
Amnesty International has learned that two women, Hinda Aaroui and Imen
Derouiche, and one man, Najib Baccouchi, a former prisoner of conscience, have
also been arrested in connection with the wave of arrests that have taken place
subsequent to the February student strikes.
All 15 of the above-named detainees have now been brought before the examining
magistrate, charged and transferred to prison, the female detainees to the
Mannouba Women’s Prison in Tunis.
Charges against all of the accused include: belonging to a criminal and terrorist
gang, holding unauthorized meetings, inciting rebellion, insulting the
President, spreading false information aiming to disturb public order,
defamation against the authorities and distributing leaflets.
Some of the detainees were held in secret detention after their initial arrests
and subsequently reportedly tortured. Additionally, the arrest dates for some
of the detainees were falsified to hide the length of time they spent in secret
detention.
The same charges were also brought against four people, in absentia, on 11
March 1998 (see names above). Hamma Hammami, Abdelmajid Sahraoui, a trade
unionist, and Fahem Boukaddous are all former prisoners of conscience and are
being sought by the police. Radhia Nasraoui, a well-known human rights lawyer
acting on behalf of those charged, is currently out of the country attending
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a trial as part of an Amnesty International delegation (see UA 48/98, MDE
30/04/98, 13 February 1998).
Radhia Nasraoui was unable to gain access to her clients prior to her departure
on 6 March 1998 or to ensure that they be medically examined.
Amnesty International considers the 15 above-mentioned detainees to be
prisoners of conscience. The organization would consider the remaining four
charged in absentia to be prisoners of conscience if they were to be imprisoned
and calls for the charges against them to be dropped.
Miled Belanes was released without charge on 6 March 1998 and Jalloul Ouislati
is also reported to have been released.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/ airmail
letters in French, Arabic, English or in your own language:
-expressing concern at the new arrests of Hinda Aaroui, Imen Derouiche and
Najib Baccouchi;
- expressing concern at reports that some of the detainees have been tortured
during secret detention, and urging that a prompt, independent and impartial
investigation into the allegations of torture;
- expressing concern at the charges brought against Hamma Hammami, Abdelmajid
Sahraoui, Fahem Boukaddous and Radhia Nasraoui;
- urging that the 15 above-mentioned detainees be immediately and
unconditionally released, and that the charges against the other four be
dropped.
APPEALS TO:
1) Minister of Justice
M. Abdallah Kallel
Ministre de la Justice
Ministère de la Justice
31 Boulevard Bab Benat
1006 Tunis, Tunisia
Telegrams: Ministre Justice, Tunis, Tunisia
Faxes: + 216 1 568 106
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre / Your Excellency
2) Minister of the Interior
M. Ali Chaouch
Ministre de l'Intérieur
Ministère de l'Intérieur
Avenue Habib Bourguiba
1001 Tunis, Tunisia
Telegrams: Ministre Intérieur, Tunis, Tunisia
Faxes: + 216 1 346 624
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre / Your Excellency
COPIES TO:
Tunisian Human Rights League
Me Taoufik Bouderbala, Président
Ligue Tunisienne des Droits de l’Homme, LTDH
7 Rue Pierre Curie
Tunis, Tunisia
Tel/faxes: + 216 1 336 338
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and to diplomatic representatives of TUNISIA accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 24 April 1998.

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