Behind a Death, a System in Need of Reform

image of Walid Denguir from his Facebook page, November 2013. Image credit: Tunisia Live

image of Walid Denguir from his Facebook page, November 2013. Image credit: Tunisia Live

The November 1 death of 32-year old Walid Denguir, allegedly at the hands of police, sheds light on a security apparatus and justice system still in need of reform almost three years since Tunisia’s revolution.

Last Friday afternoon, Denguir left his family’s home in the Bab Jdid neighborhood of Tunis. While details are still emerging, he was quickly arrested by police forces. Less than two hours later, his mother was called and told her son was dead.

At the hospital, Denguir’s mother and the family’s lawyer, prominent human rights advocate Radhia Nasraoui, saw what they called signs of torture on the body. Denguir’s skull reportedly appeared to be cracked and he was covered in bruises.

Lotfi Azzouz, director of the Amnesty International Tunisia office, connected Denguir’s case to pre-revolutionary abuses and said that the death highlighted the need to reform the Tunisian security and justice sectors.

“These cases continue to occur because there is no accountability and punishment is internal,” Azzouz said. Offenses by security officials within the Ministry of Interior, he added, usually are not dealt with by Tunisia’s criminal system, but rather are handled as internal administrative problems within the ministry.

On November 3, in a statement made through state news agency TAP but since taken down, the Ministry of Interior acknowledged that excessive force was used during Denguir’s interrogation and announced that an investigation would be made into his death.

When reached by phone, ministry spokesperson Mohamed Ali Aroui said that they were still waiting for the results of the investigation.

The Sidi el-Bechir police station denied knowing anything about Denguir and refused to answer any questions when called by Tunisia Live.

Azzouz said Denguir’s case was similar to that of Faycel Baraket, a 25-year-old Islamist activist killed while in police custody in 1991 under the rule of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. In that case, medical reports were censored and foreign experts were brought in to examine the body. After 22 years, Baraket’s family is still seeking justice.

The autopsy system in Tunisia needs to be reformed, Azzouz said, for the truth to surface in these cases. Yesterday, Tunisian newspaper Al-Chourouk reported that a medical report determined Denguir’s death to be drug-related, and not a result of police abuse. The report could not be verified, and members of Denguir’s family dismissed it as a rumor.

A new law passed last month creating a commission to prevent torture will deter more cases like Denguir’s, Azzouz said, but more still needs to be done.

Some security laws in Tunisia date back to the era of the Beys, Azzouz said, referring to Tunisia’s pre-independence monarchs. The internal structure of the Ministry of Interior is still unclear, he added. If it is unclear who is in charge to an outsider, accountability is difficult.

Security officers think of their job as semi-military, Azzouz said, adding that they need to think of their work as protecting, not attacking, people.

Asma Smadhi contributed reporting.

Tunisia Live http://www.tunisia-live.net/2013/11/06/behind-a-death-a-system-in-need-of-reform/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=behind-a-death-a-system-in-need-of-reform#sthash.GrnAhMD3.dpuf

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Laarayadh: The assassin of Chokri Belaid is known.

TUNIS, MosaiqueFM – In a special radio interview accorded to Tunis’s top three radio stations, Tunisian Prime Minister of the coalition government, Mr. Ali Laarayedh, came on the mention of the open case of Chokri Belaid.

http://www.thetunistimes.com/2013/07/laarayadh-the-assassin-of-chokri-belaid-is-known-24766/

 

A Look at the Arab Spring Security Sector Reforms

Finishing the Job: Security Sector Reform After the Arab Spring

By Omar Ashour, on 28 May 2013, Feature
The Arab Uprisings were principally sparked by the brutality of the security sector in almost every single country where they occurred. In Tunisia, Mohammed Bouazizi’s self-immolation following an insult by the police in December 2010 triggered the revolution. In Egypt, the June 2010 murder by two policemen of Internet activist Khaled Said, followed by the brutality of police during the fraudulent parliamentary elections of November-December 2010, set the revolution’s context. In Libya, the arrest in February 2011 of Fathy Terbil—a human rights lawyer who had represented the families of the victims of the June 1996 Abu Selim Prison massacre, in which more than 1,236 political prisoners were gunned down by Moammar Gadhafi’s security forces—sparked that country’s revolution. In Syria, abuses committed in March 2011 by Assad’s security forces, which included the pulling out of the fingernails of children and teenagers in Deraa, triggered the protests that ignited that country’s ongoing civil war. In many ways, the Arab Spring was a region-wide reaction against violations by the security services.

Tunisia cautious of upcoming tourism Season

Tunisians’ Daily Lives Transformed by Lack of Security

Asma Smadhi | 23 May 2013

Security concerns have fundamentally affected the day-to-day lives of Tunisians, from how they plan their evenings to how they will spend their summer vacations.

http://www.tunisia-live.net/2013/05/23/tunisians-daily-lives-transformed-by-lack-of-security/?utm_source=feedly

Tunisia Live