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  • Human Rights Research Center

Tunisian Government Cracks Down on Dissenters

May 17, 2024

People gathered outside the Central Court in Tunis [Credit: Al Jazeera]

Cited article by Al Jazeera

HRRC advocates for the immediate release of detainees, demands an end to judicial harassment and calls for accountability for the Tunisian regime's actions.

News Brief

In Tunis, Tunisia, hundreds of lawyers protested the arrests of their colleagues amid a broader crackdown on dissent by President Kais Saied's regime. The recent wave of repression saw security forces detain journalists, activists, and NGO workers, sparking strikes and demonstrations. Romdhane Ben Amor from the Tunisian League for the Defence of Human Rights criticized Saied for systematically targeting critics, including lawyers and media personnel, to maintain electoral support. Saied's administration has been accused of eroding civil liberties, as evidenced by the arrests of prominent lawyers Sonia Dahmani and Mehdi Zagrouba, the latter reportedly tortured during detention, prompting outrage and further legal strikes.

Since coming to power in 2019 and dissolving parliament in 2021, Saied has overhauled Tunisia's political landscape, sidelining opposition and restructuring the judiciary to serve his interests. His regime has intensified efforts to suppress civil society and media, enforcing Decree 54, which criminalizes the spread of what the government decides is "false" information. This has led to numerous arrests of journalists and activists, significantly threatening the country's democratic foundations. International and local human rights groups, including Amnesty International, have condemned these actions, calling for the release of detainees and an end to judicial harassment. Despite international criticism, European support persists, driven by concerns over migration, as Tunisia remains a crucial transit point for sub-Saharan African refugees.


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