- Tunisian government has rejected torture claims by an Amnesty International (AI) report, saying the country has not put in place measures to curb human rights violations allegedly perpetrated by Tunisia security forces.
A report released on Monday by AI revealed shocking human rights violations in Tunisia despite the country portraying a positive image of human rights situation.
Tunisia, renowned for being absolute dictator, imposing significant restrictions on freedom of speech and human rights, and having a total ban on opposition, said AI accusation were unfounded and lacked credibility.
A Tunisian official responding to AI report said all trials which took place in the country were in compliance with the 2003 anti-terrorism legislation, and have involved people found in possession of weapons and explosives.
AI report said since draconian anti-terror laws were introduced in 2003, AI has found evidence of arrest dates being falsified, prisoners held incommunicado and torture used to extract confessions.
"It is for the less surprising, that AI describes these kind of criminal activities as, legitimate and peaceful opposition," official said.
AI report said trials of people facing terrorism-related charges were frequently unfair and generally resulted in defendants being sentenced to long prison terms, while at the same time those arrested in other states were forcibly returned despite concerns of being at risk of torture.
A report further said authorities severely restricted freedom of expression while hundreds of political prisoners continued to serve sentences imposed on account of their alleged involvement in peaceful opposition to the government.
Tunisian government official said the Tunisian judiciary authorities would not hesitate to file a lawsuit if there is enough evidence to charge any particular law-enforcement officer with abuse of power if such acts are reported.
Although the official admitted that some legal reforms were introduced in recent years to provide better protection for detainees, AI report said political prisoners reportedly suffered discrimination and harsh treatment, while others even opt for hunger strike in protest to illtreatment by prison guards.
Tunisian government further rejected authorities are using the fight against terrorism as a defense to crack down on legitimate political activities, saying fighting terrorism is a serious challenge which Tunisian authorities are striving to meet.
Tunisia gained independence in 1956, since then Tunisia was led for three decades by Habib Bourguiba. In 1987 he was dismissed on grounds of senility and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali became president. He continued with a hardline approach against Islamic extremists, but inherited an economically stable country.
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