Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

The French newspaper “Libération” reports that the human rights situation in Tunisia is increasingly deteriorating, with a strict policy of cracking down on dissidents still in place.

Tunisian lawyers have protested against President Kais Saied’s policies, accusing him of intensifying repression, especially against members of their union.

Hundreds of lawyers recently gathered to protest the assault on lawyer Mehdi Zagrouba, and he was taken to hospital by ambulance during a hearing before the judge.

The National Bar Association of Tunisia issued a press release confirming that Mehdi Zagrouba was tortured between his detention and his hearing before the judge.

In statements quoted by the newspaper, lawyer Nizar Toumi denounced the beating incident, noting that it is difficult for lawyers to defend citizens in light of fear.

In the same context, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned what it described as “intimidation and harassment” of lawyers, while the Tunisian Ministry of Interior denied the use of any kind of torture and threatened to prosecute those who try to discredit the police.

The Libération report referred to the incident of covering the Tunisian flag in the Prades swimming pool, during an open swimming competition, in implementation of a sanction imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency on Tunisia for non-compliance with legal regulations.

President Kais Saied attended the incident and sang the national anthem in tears in front of the Tunisian flag, describing it as a “heinous and unforgivable crime”.

Kais Saied’s hardline stance was well received by his supporters, who demonstrated in defense of the Tunisian flag and against foreign interference.

Nine people, including the president of the Tunisian Swimming Federation and the director of the National Anti-Doping Agency, are on trial on charges of “conspiring against the internal security of the state” and “publicly attacking the Tunisian flag”, while the World Anti-Doping Agency called for the immediate release of the defendants.

President Saied recently pointed out that 683 million euros arrived at some civil society associations between 2011 and 2023, and accused some of serving foreign agendas, while activist Sonia Ben Messaoud denied the validity of these figures, stressing that they aim to distort the image of civil society.

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