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Tunisia: National Salvation Front sit-in calls for detainee release

March 18, 2023 at 10:47 am

The leader of the National Liberation Front, Necip al-Shaabi, also participated in the demonstration. [Yassine Gaidi – Anadolu Agency]

The National Salvation Front in Tunisia (NSFT) has decided to launch an open sit-in next week to demand the release of all political detainees.

The NSFT called on the judiciary to address the detentions, emphasising that the sit-in would continue until the demands were achieved, confirming that it may escalate to a hunger strike.

In a statement to Arabi 21, Head of the NSFT Ahmed Najib Chebbi said the sit-in is supposed to start next week and will be in front of the headquarters of the Republican Party. Chebbi noted that NSFT members, political and human rights figures and families of the detainees would participate in the sit-in.

On Friday, the NSFT organised a protest on Avenue Habib Bourguiba in the capital, with the participation of the detainees’ families and supporters.

The protesters raised slogans such as: “Down with the coup”, “Freedom for the prisoners” and “Freedoms, freedoms, the police state died.”

In a statement to Arabi 21, NSFT member Riadh Chaibi shared: “Due to the policy of abuse that the detainees are suffering, the failure to grant their rights as political prisoners and in light of the application of the terrorism law to their statuses as prisoners, we decided to stand in solidarity with them and enter into an open sit-in,” calling on all struggling political forces to join.

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The defence committee of the detainees denounced the detention conditions of its clients, while member of the committee Ayachi Hammami explained in a previous statement to Arabi 21 that the conditions of detention have changed since last week following instructions from higher authorities. The detainees have been transferred to filthy, pest-ridden rooms that do not meet the minimum health and safety conditions, in an effort to abuse and humiliate them.

The leader of the Ennahda Movement Mohamed Goumani conveyed in a statement to Arabi 21 that they will not rest until all political prisoners are released.

Goumani considers that entering a solidarity hunger strike is likely, depending on the political discussions and the extent of the authority’s response to the request to release the detainees.

The defence committee for political prisoners in Tunisia, in the case known as the “conspiracy against state security”, accused President Kais Saied last Wednesday of managing the case personally.

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