Amnesty accuses Tunisia security forces of abuses in war with militants

By REUTERS
February 13, 2017 14:33
1 minute read.

TUNIS - Tunisian security forces are using methods in their war against Islamist militants that are associated with overthrown leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, including torture, arbitrary arrests and detentions, Amnesty International said on Monday.

The human right group said in a report that such practices are threatening the road to democratic reform in a country that was the birthplace of the Arab uprisings against autocracy.

Tunisia says it recognizes that some of what Amnesty has charged exists, but says in only individual cases and that there is no systematic abuse or policy of torture by state forces.

It has set up a torture commission to stamp out abuses.

Tunisia has been praised as an example of peaceful democratic transition since overthrowing Ben Ali in 2011, with a compromise between secular and Islamist leaders, two free elections and a new constitution.

But it has struggled to cope with a rising tide of Islamist militants and the prosecution of Islamist sleeper cells, especially after four deadly attacks in 2015-2016, including on foreign tourists, the country's economic lifeblood.

Since November 2015 Tunisia has been under the state of emergency that allows authorities to move with more freedom in the face of terrorism suspects.


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