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Tunisia: Concerns over fate of ousted prime minister

Tunisian Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi in Lisbon on May 11, 2021. [PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images]
Tunisian Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi in Lisbon on May 11, 2021. [PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images]

The fate of ousted Tunisian Prime Minister Hicham Mechichi has become a matter of growing concern since no one knows his whereabouts, member of the International Federation of Jurists Anwar Al-Gharbi has told MEMO. "We are especially worried about his health and psychological well-being," he said.

Al-Gharbi confirmed: "We have been trying for five days to obtain information about Mechichi, but to no avail. He is not at his home. Everyone we contacted has no information about him; his family and relatives, and even those who worked with them."

Given the gravity of the situation the International Federation of Jurists is now planning to call upon the UN Special Rapporteur on Enforced Disappearances to carry out an investigation. Days after the coup, Middle East Eye reported sources saying that Mechichi was assaulted at the presidential palace before agreeing to resign.

Al-Gharbi revealed that there are great fears among jurists about worsening human rights conditions in Tunisia amid the numerous and frequent cases of disappearance, not least among them that of the disappeared lawmaker Abdel Latif Alawi.

On 25 July, Tunisian President Kais Saied used Article 80 of the constitution to dismiss PM Mechichi, freeze the work of parliament for 30 days, lift the immunity of ministers, and appoint himself as head of the executive authority until the formation of a new government.

This comes after violent protests broke out in several Tunisian cities criticising the government's handling of the economy and the coronavirus. Demonstrators had called for parliament to be dissolved.

READ: Will evidence 'disappear' to cover up the Tunisian president's crime?

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