EXTERNAL AI Index: MDE 30/26/96
30 August 1996
Further information (5) on EXTRA 71/96 (MDE 30/14/96, 20 May 1996) and follow-up
(MDE 30/16/96, 29 May; MDE 30/20/96, 3 July; MDE 30/22/96, 18 July; MDE 30/25/96,
27 August) - Legal Concern / Prisoner of Conscience
The sentence of five years' imprisonment passed on prisoner of conscience
Khemais Chammari on 17 July 1996 was upheld by the Tunisian Supreme Court which,
on 29 August, rejected defence lawyers' petitions for the overturning of the
verdict through the "cassation" procedure. "Cassation" looks at the procedures
and application of the law, but does not re-examine the facts of a case.
Requests by the defence lawyers for a postponement of the Supreme Court's review
of the case, which would have allowed them adequate time to prepare their
defence, were rejected. Moreover, the lawyers were not allowed free access
to their client, in breach of Article 70 of the Tunisian Code of Penal Procedures
(Code Procédure Pénale).
In July, Khemais Chammari was sentenced to five years' imprisonment on charges
of "disclosing a national secret to a foreign power". An Amnesty International
observer who attended the trial concluded that no convincing evidence was
produced to substantiate the charges against the defendant.
The organization considers Khemais Chammari to be a prisoner of conscience
imprisoned solely for his conscientiously-held beliefs, and calls for his
immediate and unconditional release.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/
airmail letters in French, Arabic, English or in your own language:
- regretting the Tunisian Supreme Court's decision to uphold Khemais Chammari's
sentence of five years' imprisonment for allegedly "disclosing a national secret
to a foreign power";
- reiterating that Khemais Chammari is a prisoner of conscience and calling
for his immediate and unconditional release.
Président M. Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
Président de la République
Fax: +216 1 744 721
Minister of Justice
M. Sadok Chaâbane
Ministre de la Justice
Ministère de la Justice
Boulevard Bab Benat
Fax: +216 1 568 106
Minister of Foreign Affairs