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Tunisian MPs call for ban on civilians being tried in military courts

November 4, 2016 at 11:00 pm

Tunisia’s ruling Nida Tounes party has proposed an amendment to the Penal Code in order to abolish the trial of civilians in military courts.

Twenty members of the party submitted a new legislative initiative to change the penal code and “cancel the referral of civilians, from journalists to others, to military courts”.

Najla Saadaoui, a member of parliament for Nida Tounes, said this moves comes in an effort to “maintain the exceptional character of the military courts”.

The editor of a Tunisian newspaper remains in jail after a military court charged him for publishing articles regarding suspicion of corruption in the military establishment.

Human Rights Watch has previously condemned Tunisia for trying civilians in military courts. In 2015 it wrote: “The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Principles and Guidelines on the right to fair trial and legal assistance in Africa state that military courts should not ‘in any circumstances whatsoever have jurisdiction over civilians’.”