[QODLink]
Archive
Tunisia police beat rights activists

Tunisian police beat activists trying to attend a planned meeting by the country's only independent human rights body, witnesses say.

Last Modified: 28 May 2006 04:01 GMT
Moukhtar Tifri (R) described the situation as shameful

Tunisian police beat activists trying to attend a planned meeting by the country's only independent human rights body, witnesses say.

Dozens of plainclothes policemen blocked roads leading to the headquarters of the Tunisian Human Rights League and allowed no one to approach the site, the witnesses said on Saturday.

Security officials traded insults with members of the league while European and US diplomats and French lawyers, who were invited to the congress, looked on.

Witnesses said police beat and kicked league activists who tried to breach the cordon.

No arrests were reported.

The incident was the latest in a series of what rights activists say are government abuses, including beating lawyers, jailing opponents and stifling the press.

Accusations

Mokhtar Trifi, the president of the group, said: "It is shameful that those invited to support human rights in Tunisia cannot gain access to the headquarters of the human rights league."

"It is shameful that those invited to support human rights in Tunisia cannot gain access to the headquarters of the human rights league"

Mokhtar Trifi,
President,
Tunisian Human Rights
League

Some pro-government members of the league say Trifi and other leaders have muzzled a free debate before the planned meeting.
   
They accuse the league's leadership of cronyism, physical and verbal violence against militants and sidelining members who disagree with them.

As a result of their complaints, a court ruled that the meeting would be illegal pending further judicial hearings next month.

Hunger strike

Meanwhile, Aljazeera reports that members of the Tunisian National Organisation for Lawyers have begun a hunger strike in protest against the law of the Supreme Bar Institute which was endorsed by the Tunisian parliament.

The lawyers accused the ministry of justice of seeking to control the lawyers syndicate.

Rights activists say Western governments tend to focus on Tunisia's strong economic performance and the government's success in tackling Muslim extremists while turning a blind eye to what they say is often heavy-handed tactics to suppress dissent.

The government says it is committed to democracy and respect of human rights, adding it has no political prisoners and that no one has been jailed for expressing their opinions.

Source:
Aljazeera + Agencies
Topics in this article
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.