Widespread overcrowding in Tunisia’s prisons criticized by UN

Tunisia has to respect its commitments in fight against torture in detention centres 

The living conditions in Tunisian prisons are horrible. Ben Emmerson, UN rapporteur on human rights and the fight against terrorism sounded the alarm. He began by criticising widespread overcrowding in prisons across the country.

“I was particularly concerned about the prison conditions I witnessed in the Mornagua prison which fall well below the international minimum standards. The prison is approximatively 150% over capacity with more than ninety prisoners crammed into dormitories with inadequate space, natural light, sleeping or sanitary facilities,” Ben Emmerson, UN special rapporteur for human rights and the fight against terrorism said.He lauded the considerable measures which have been taken in the human rights domain since the fall of Ben Ali. However he regrets that torture is still practiced there and has called on the Tunisian government to eradicate torture and also to revise the terrorism law.

Speaking Friday at a news conference in Tunis, Ben Emmerson, praised the creation and election of the National Commission for the Prevention of Torture in March 2016.

He urged Tunisia to respect its commitment to fighting ill-treatment and torture in detention centres.

Ben Emmerson recommended reforms to ensure the presence of lawyers from the first hour of detention and not after 48 hours and the installation of video cameras in detention and interrogation centres.

He is expected to present a complete report to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2018.

Ben Emmerson paid  a working visit to Tunisia from January 30 to February 3 to assess the progress made by Tunisia in the fight against terrorism, based on international human rights law.


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