Tunisia: Police assault on Amnesty International's trial observers

In the early hours of Saturday 29 September the delegates were stopped in Tunis by traffic police while returning from a meeting with a Tunisian human rights defender. They were then forced by plain clothes security officers into a car without number plates. Later they were pulled out of the car and their belongings, including a computer and all their documents, were forcibly taken. One of the delegates was physically assaulted by a plain clothes officer whilst another officer took his bag. They were then released.

Amnesty International has contacted the Tunisian authorities expressing its grave concern at the incident and requested a prompt and thorough investigation as well as assurances that neither the delegates nor people they have been or will be in contact with will endure further harassment.

The organisation has requested immediate meetings with Tunisian ministers and government officials to discuss the incident. There has been no response to these requests so far.

Dr Moncef Marzouki, a member and former spokesperson of the Conseil National pour les Libertés en Tunisie(CNLT), National Council for Liberties in Tunisia, and former president of the Ligue Tunisienne des Droits de l'Homme (LTDH), Tunisian Human Rights League, had been sentenced in December 2000 in an unfair trial to one year's imprisonment in connection with his human rights activities. At the 29th September hearing attended by the delegates the sentence was suspended. Dr Marzouki, a former presidential candidate, will lose certain civil rights, including the right to stand for elections.

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