The Truth and Dignity Commission in Tunisia started on Thursday to hear publicly the victims of torture and harassment carried out against Tunisians by the various regimes that ruled the small North African country since 1955, Quds Press reported yesterday.
The head of the commission, Sihem Bensedrine, a former activist who was harassed by the authorities under ousted former president Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali, said that the goal of thQe hearings was "not revenge."
The commission is investigating crimes and abuses dating back to 1955, a year before Tunisia gained independence from France. The commission has gathered testimony behind closed doors from about 11,000 people over the past three years.
The head of the Ennahda party, Sheikh Rashid Al-Ghanouchi said hearing the victims of dictatorships was "a historic day, and a sign of the revolution's success and proof that Tunisia is on the right track to treating its sicknesses and wounds in civilised, and not vengeful, ways."
He continued: "This event marks Tunisia as an oasis of peace in a region that is on fire. Therefore, this generation has to be proud that it lived to see this day, as many generations died while they were dreaming to see [a day such as this]."
Al-Ghanouchi rejected claims that hearing the victims of Tunisian dictators was a form of "revenge" or an attempt to "ignite sedition" which would aggravate the already frail economic situation of the country.
"Tunisia will hold an international investment conference to treat the economic crisis and at the same time it is reinforcing its political path through transitional justice," he said, adding "this way, Tunisia is sending a message to the world that it is stable and civilised and deals with crises peacefully."
Al-Ghanouchi also said: "Islam is currently active in international politics. This is a new thing," noting there is a new stage where there is currently "normalisation" with "democratic and moderate Islam" across the world.