UN Human Rights Office calls for release of former justice minister – global issue

Mr Bhiri, an Ennahdha Party MP, was taken out of his home on 31 December by men in plainclothes. No explanation was provided or a warrant for his arrest was provided.

The moderate Islamist Ennahdha movement has the most seats in the Tunisian parliament, according to media reports.

No formal charges

Mr. Bhiri, 63, was taken to various secret detention facilities for several hours before being placed under house arrest. Due to pre-existing health conditions, he was transferred to the hospital on 2 January and remained there.

Although officials said he was suspected of terrorism-related crimes, OHCHR Said his lawyers had not been formally informed of any charges against him.

On the same day as Mr. Bhiri, a second unidentified man was also taken and detained under similar circumstances. His location was not known until January 4th.

“We urge the authorities to immediately release or appropriately charge both men in accordance with due process standards in criminal proceedings,”Say Liz Throssell, OHCHR spokesperson in Geneva.

serious concern

These developments have deepened the UN Office’s The human rights situation has deteriorated in Tunisia.

Ms Throssell said that although the men’s families and OHCHR staff in the country were able to visit them “These two incidents echo practices not seen since the Ben Ali era and raise serious questions about kidnappings, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions.”

President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who ruled Tunisia for more than 20 years, was ousted in January 2011 amid protests that sparked the Arab Spring.

Incumbent President Keith Saeed suspended parliament and assumed all executive functions last July in what opponents called a coup.

retained rights proceeds

OHCHR said the actions of Tunisia’s internal security forces had long been a cause for concern, and the issue had been raised several times in discussions with the authorities over the past decade.

After the violent dispersal of demonstrators on 1 September, President Said called on the force to change its approach and act in accordance with the law. The UN office said that while it was a “positive step”, public commitments to international human rights obligations had yet to be translated into practice.

OHCHR is also concerned suppress dissent In Tunisia, including the improper use of anti-terrorism legislation and the increased use of military courts to try civilians.

While the president has repeatedly vowed to reform the judiciary, actions must be in line with Tunisia’s international human rights obligations.

OHCHR reviewed the country’s “tremendous progress” in promoting human rights over the past decade, but stressed the importance of maintaining those gains.

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