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HRW urges Tunisia president to cancel repressive measures

Tunisian President Kais Saied in Brussels, Belgium on 4 June 2021. [Dursun Aydemir - Anadolu Agency]
Tunisian President Kais Saied in Brussels, Belgium on 4 June 2021. [Dursun Aydemir - Anadolu Agency]

Human Rights Watch (HRW) yesterday urged Tunisian President Kais Saied to safeguard the rights of all Tunisians and reverse the repressive measures put in place which largely concentrate powers in his office.

HRW acting Middle East and North Africa Director, Eric Goldstein, said "concentrating powers that could be used against basic rights should always set off alarm bells."

"It's ominous for human rights when a president claims constitutional backing for seizing enormous powers and the next thing you know police start going after journalists," he added.

"Whether they cheered or protested President Saied's decisions, all Tunisians deserve to live in dignity and to have a government that's accountable," Goldstein said.

On Sunday, Saied dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, suspended parliament, lifted parliamentary immunity, took over supervision of public prosecution, and implemented other extraordinary measures that he said were necessary to address Tunisia's months-long political crisis.

The following day, police raided the headquarters of Al Jazeera in the capital, Tunis, evicting its staff and closing the office.

Saied claimed he took the decisions in consultation with Mechichi and Ennahda party leader and Parliament Speaker, Rached Ghannouchi, however, Ghannouchi along with many Tunisian parties rejected Saied's decisions calling them a coup.

READ: Blaming Ennahda for Tunisia's problems is misleading and won't solve the crisis

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