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Tunisia: Lawyer alleges state surveillance of defense discussions in human rights defender Mariam Sassi’s case

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Press release

Geneva – March 14, 2024


Nafie al-Araibi, a prominent lawyer and human rights defender, has accused Tunisian authorities of egregious violations, alleging that they spied on defense team conversations concerning detained political activist Meriem Sassi. Al-Araibi,

a Sassi’s defense team member, disclosed that the authorities infringed upon legal and privacy rights by monitoring their discussions.

According to al-Araibi, the alleged espionage was carried out by hacking into Mariam Sassi’s Facebook account, a move deemed a flagrant breach of legal statutes safeguarding the confidentiality of lawyer-client communications. The accusations against al-Araibi suggest an overreach of his professional role, as the investigative judge overseeing the case appointed him as a technical expert.

The Committee for Justice (CFJ) condemned the reported surveillance by Tunisian authorities, denouncing it as unlawful and calling for an immediate cessation of such practices. CFJ emphasized that Tunisian authorities must adhere to national laws and international conventions, upholding fundamental rights such as privacy and the right to a fair defense.

The allegations of spying on defense conversations underscore a critical juncture in Tunisia’s commitment to the rule of law and human rights protections. The revelations demand transparent investigation and accountability measures to address potential infringements and restore trust in the legal system.

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