300 torture cases in Tunisia since 2013 without conviction

ICTJ TDC
Relatives of torture victims on Day 1 of the public hearing of Tunisia’s Truth and Dignity Commission

The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) denounced the continued impunity for torture and ill-treatment in Tunisia.

The Geneva-based non-governmental organisation blamed the Tunisian government for allowing this impunity.

Anadolu was unable to obtain an immediate response from the Tunisian government regarding what the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) said.

The deputy head of the organisation, Mukhtar Al-Tarifi, asserted in a news conference in Tunis on Thursday 26 April, that “300 cases of torture have been pending in Tunisia since September 2013; however, there have been no convictions that condemn the involved security officers.”

He added that “the commitments taken by the Tunisian State to prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes are inconsistent with what happens in many cases of torture, where the government does not provide redress for victims.”

He pointed to “the excessive influence of the security services on the judiciary,” and called “judges to assume their responsibility.”

Al-Tarifi stated that the Tunisian government has legal obligations that it has assumed under its ratification of the International Convention Against Torture.

“The government has committed itself to these obligations when it presented its periodic report before the International Committee against Torture in 2016, and at the Universal Periodic Review of its 2017 report,” he clarified.

At the same conference, the deputy head of the organisation presented the case of a Tunisian citizen named Ahmed bin Abda “tortured” by security officers, which caused the loss of his right eye and severe damage to the skull, face and nose in 2013.

Mukhtar Al-Tarifi insisted that although the damage to Ahmed bin Abda was confirmed and he was subjected to medical tests which proved that he was tortured, the defendants were not convicted.

The organisation intends to present the case file to the Court of Cassation to review the legal breaches that had marred this file, according to the deputy head of the organisation.

Tunisian authorities often stress their concern for justice in cases of torture, and they base their claims on the referral of some security officers to court in similar cases.