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Tunisia: Organisations hold PM responsible for deviation of security establishment

TUNIS, TUNISIA - JANUARY 16: Tunisian Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi speaks during a press conference to announce a wide cabinet reshuffle in the capital Tunis, Tunisia on January 16, 2021. ( Yassine Gaidi - Anadolu Agency )
Former Tunisian Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi speaks during a press conference to announce a wide cabinet reshuffle in the capital Tunis, Tunisia on January 16, 2021 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

Tunisian organisations and syndicates on Friday held Prime Minister and Acting Minister of the Interior Hichem Mechichi directly responsible for what they described as "the deviation of the security establishment".

This came in a joint statement signed by 43 Tunisian organisations, associations and unions, while there was no comment from the government on these accusations.

The signatories include the National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT); the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT), the largest trade union in the country; the Organisation Contre la Torture en Tunisie (OCTT); the Tunisian League of Human Rights (LTDH) and the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES).

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The organisations signed the joint statement following the death of a young man in his twenties on Wednesday, during events that took place in the Sidi Hassine neighbourhood. His family says that he "died after being tortured by security forces."

The Interior Ministry commented on these events in a statement confirming that a number of young men: "Deliberately attacked security units and public and private properties in the area." The ministry did not however confirm the security officers' responsibility for the death of the young man.

The organisations' joint statement stressed: "We hold the prime minister and acting minister of interior directly responsible for deviation of the security establishment towards leniency in taking the lives of Tunisians and trampling upon their dignity."

The statement called on the Tunisian prime minister to: "Take urgent measures that achieve justice for the victims and their families, restore their dignity and put an end to exploiting the security establishment in solving social, economic and political crises."

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The organisations denounced what has been described in the statement as: "Barbaric security practices that crossed all lines and standards."

The statement considered that the police brutality in the Sidi Hassine and Jayara areas are not isolated events, but rather constitute: "A continuation of the practices that prevailed throughout the years that followed the revolution."

The Sidi Hassine neighbourhood (west of the capital) and the adjacent areas have witnessed a series of protests over the past three days, as the demonstrators accuse the security forces of killing the young man.

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