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Amnesty calls on Tunisia to stop military trials of civilians

February 24, 2023 at 10:23 am

Tunisians gather for a demonstration against the administration of President Kais Saied [Yassine Gaidi – Anadolu Agency]

Amnesty International yesterday called on Tunisian President Kais Saied to stop the prosecution of civilians in military courts.

In a statement, the organisation said: “Since his power grab on 25 July 2021, President Kais Saied granted himself sweeping powers and has debilitated key institutions for human rights protection, threatening freedom of expression, association, fair trial, and other rights.”

Adding that he has used these powers to target those who oppose his maneouvres. “They have faced arbitrary travel bans, at times arrest or criminal investigations and prosecutions before the courts. The prosecution of civilians by military courts has dramatically increased with at least 12 civilians tried over the past year, including for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression,” it warned.

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Saied has also “repeatedly attacked the independence of the judiciary”, it added, and “granted himself broad powers to intervene in the appointment and dismissal of judges and prosecutors.”

While new laws being introduced by him would restrict the work and funding of civil society groups and therefore threaten “freedom of association”.

Calling for action, it said Tunisia must “Stop the prosecution of civilians before military courts. Reinstate the recently dissolved High Judicial Council and protect judges from dismissal by the President. Refrain from adopting new legislation that would threaten freedom of association.”

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