Tunisian security forces reportedly tortured and beat pregnant women during former Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali’s presidency, according to the national Truth and Dignity Commission (TDC).
The TDC aims to bring justice to those that experienced abuse and torture under the Ben Ali regime and has witnessed a series of harrowing accounts from victims including many missing in the regime’s torture cells.
The commission has collected tens of thousands of witness statements from victims over the last five decades.
During the second public hearing session over the weekend, Mahrzah Ben Abed told the commission that police officers beat her so viciously in 1991 that she miscarried and was only allowed to go to hospital four days later.
“They beat me about the head and used pliers on my bosom among many other torture methods, which were also used on a large number of other victims”
Since the TDC’s first public hearing on 17 November, Ben Ali responded to the victim’s account by releasing a public statement stating how his regime had “committed errors, abuses and violations”.
“Tunisia shall no longer accept human rights violations, nor shall this land leave ground for impunity: this is the prerequisite for a genuine national reconciliation,” president of the TDC, Sihem Bensedrine, said last November.
“Today, the victims of despotism are fully entitled to justice and fairness. This is the message Tunisia is about to convey to the entire world.”