Tunisia – Human rights organizations denounce security mistreatment of protesters
Location: Tunis – Tunisia
Source: A24 in Tunisia
Restrictions: A24 subscribers
Today, 30 Tunisian human rights organizations and associations declared their rejection of what they called the security approach in dealing with protests of Tunisian youth in various governorates in the north and south Tunisia.
Naela Zoghlami, president of Tunisian Association of Democratic Women, told A24 Tunisian youth are struggling with unemployment, and have lost hope of Tunisia returning to its former state. She said there are no real means of communication between authorities and youth, stating the association is here today in solidarity with Tunisian youth as a civil society.
The associations denounced the arrest of a large number of young protesters, children, and civil society activists, including activist in monitoring impunity cases, Saif El-Din al-Ayadi, who was arrested last week and then released on conditions.
– Soundbite (Saif El-Din al-Ayadi – Civil society activist fighting against impunity, one of the young men arrested last week):
“I’m still in shock over what happened, I was kidnapped at 1 pm while in the middle of a crowded street. I was taken to an unknown place, I did not know anything until I reached the Guards District Center in Al Tadamon neighborhood, where I was detained. The accusation was that I did not provide them with proof of residency, though they arrested me two months ago, and they know my place of residence. They are using propaganda in front of the media and people by arresting me; one of the activists who monitor cases of impunity. I want to remind people that last month, three citizens, Karim Al-Sayyari, Malik Al-Sulaimi and Mohsen Al-Zayani died, they were shot by security forces. There are more than 370 detainees from protests in Al Tadamon neighborhoods over the death of Malik Al-Sulaimi.”
– Soundbite (Naela Zoghlami – President of Tunisian Association of Democratic Women):
“I was surprised when I saw mothers of detainees crying and looking for their sons, unable to find them. I saw the detained young men wearing short pants and shabby clothes. Tunisian youth have no job opportunities, and no hope of seeing the return of a beautiful, prospering Tunisia. Young people have nowhere to go, as there is no communication policy with the state, and no development and economic plans to accommodate young people. We, as a civil society, stand with them the mothers of the detainees. There are also mothers of detainees in several other governorates, who have no one to stand with them and defend them. The whole approach has to change, the security approach has to be abolished.”
– Soundbite (Mohamed Yassin Jelassi – President of National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists):
“It is not possible to address serious phenomena with security measures alone, it is not right. We have dozens, no hundreds of detainees from local neighborhoods and dozens of detainees who are civil society activists, there are also journalists on trial. There is a journalist being tried for what he publishes. We have cases of colleagues who were arrested in the past, such as Khalifa Al Qasimi, Bassam bin Khalifa and many others, who are still on trial today. This is clearly a policy of harassment and restriction.”
– Soundbite (Bassam al-Tarifi – Vice President of the Tunisian Human Rights League):
“Peaceful protests and demonstrations are met these days with severe repression by security, followed by judicial trials and heavy accusations against protesters, who did not do anything wrong except express their opinion. We should have a safe environment of freedom of expression and freedom of press, for people to express their opinions. We condemn security mistreatment of protesters. We have announced the formation of a national committee to monitor protests, detect violations, and defend detainees. The committee is made up of journalists, civil activists, politicians and lawyers. We call for a protest on Nov 2, which coincides with International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.”