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Tunisia: CFJ condemns second security raid on Lawyer’s House in the Capital and arrest of attorney

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Press release

Geneva – May 19, 2024


Tunisian security forces raided the Lawyer’s House in the capital, Tunis, on the night of Monday, May 13, 2024, for the second consecutive time, arresting attorney Mehdi Zagrouba, who was present at the time.

Sources inside the Lawyer’s House indicated that an investigative inquiry has been authorized against attorneys Mehdi Zagrouba and Nidal Al-Salhi, without providing specific reasons. Meanwhile, the Tunisian Interior Ministry confirmed that the investigation against Zagrouba stems from allegations of “insulting a

public official during their duties and deliberately assaulting security officers physically and verbally, along with another attorney.”

The Interior Ministry stated in a press release, “Following the circulation of a video on social media showing an attorney and another lawyer assaulting two security officers from the Judicial Police Department verbally and physically at the Tunis Justice Palace, an investigative inquiry was initiated by the public prosecutor after observing the offense of insulting a public official during their duties and preventing the officers from performing their professional duties, which was documented in the circulated video.”

On Monday, May 13, 2024, Tunisian lawyers staged a national general strike in protest against the security forces’ raid on the Lawyer’s House to arrest lawyer and human rights defender, Sonia Al-Dhamani, on Saturday, May 11, 2024.

The Committee for Justice (CFJ) has condemned the flagrant attacks by Tunisian authorities on the Lawyer’s House in Tunis and demanded their cessation, calling for adherence to Tunisian law, as the Lawyer’s House enjoys special legal protection under Article 46 of the Tunisian Bar Decree.

CFJ also decried the ongoing blind targeting of lawyers by authorities due to their statements or participation in protest strikes, asserting that this contradicts the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by Tunisian law, the constitution, and international covenants signed by Tunisia, which are binding for implementation. CFJ called for an end to these actions, the release of detained lawyers, and the cessation of unjust trials against them.

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