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Tunisian President Urged to End State of Emergency

Tunisian President Urged to End State of Emergency

Monday, 23 December, 2019 - 08:45
Tunisia's President Kais Saied. (Reuters)

A number of human rights organizations, trade unions and political parties have been pressuring the Tunisian president to end the state of emergency imposed since November 2015.

In a statement on Sunday, the organizations called on President Kais Saied, who has the right to sign or reject the emergency extension decision after holding consultations with the premier and parliament speaker, to take a decision in this regard.

They urged him to end the state of emergency and not exploit it to infringe on individual and public freedoms.

The state of emergency is set to expire on December 31.

The protesting parties demanded that parliament “expedite the establishment of the Constitutional Court, enact a basic law to regulate the state of emergency and specify the exceptional cases in which it is imposed without affecting individual and collective rights and freedoms.”

Saied, a 61-year-old constitutional law expert, had earlier declared that the state of emergency represents a breach of the 2014 constitution.

“A set of objective conditions are required to announce the state of emergency, the most important of which is an imminent threat to the homeland’s entity and the normal functioning of the state institutions,” he said.

Tunisia’s human rights observatory announced that more than 500 citizens have been under house arrest for various periods, either on suspicion of terrorism or corruption.

Lawyer Anouar Ouled Ali, head of the Observatory of Rights and Freedoms in Tunisia, a non-governmental human rights organization, said during a press conference that about 100,000 were listed in the procedure known as “S17.”

This procedure imposes travel restrictions to and from Tunisia. It specifically targets those suspected of involvement in terrorism.

He further noted that “the state of emergency also contributed to further breaching citizens’ personal spaces and terrorizing people in their homes by carrying out night raids without having judicial permissions, in addition to banning several activities, meetings and demonstrations and restricting the work of many associations”.

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