UK asked to impose sanctions on Tunisia officials – Middle East Monitor
A request was made to UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly to impose sanctions on high-level Tunisian officials for gross and persistent human rights violations.
The request was made earlier today against Tunisian President Kais Saied, Minister of the Interior Taoufik Charfeddine – who recently resigned, Minister of Justice Leïla Jaffel, Minister of National Defense Imed Memmich, and former Minister of the Interior Active Ridha Gharsallaoui.
Rodney Dixon KC submitted the application on behalf of the families of the victims of the growing crackdown on the Saied regime, in particular Noureddine Bhiri, member of parliament and former Tunisian minister of justice; Judge and former Public Prosecutor Bechir Akremi; Ferjani MP, a leading figure from the opposition, said; and, a member of the opposition party, Ridha Bouzayene.
Rodney Dixon KC said: “The purpose of the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations is to deter and provide accountability for serious human rights abuses. Our clients have suffered such abuse, as part of a pattern wider systemic violations of human rights. They have been targeted, detained and tortured and in the case of Ridha Bouzayene murdered. The UK Government should act immediately to sanction those leading this crackdown to to criticize and prevent it from rising.”
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Saied and his government have been accused of gross human rights violations since July 2021 including the ongoing arrest, torture and in some cases killing, of anyone deemed to be against them.
Member of Parliament Noureddine Bhiri was violently taken from his home on February 13 and later appeared in court with a dislocated shoulder and leg injuries. He remains in prison and is being held on unclear charges.
Although Judge Akremi was violently arrested on February 12. It was taken to an undisclosed location and kept under stress for 25 hours. He is currently on hunger strike.
A former Member of Parliament said Ferjani, who is 68, was taken without an arrest warrant on February 27. He was not charged with any offense and his rigorous interrogation yielded no evidence. Ferjani has also launched a hunger strike to protest his continued detention.
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Sanctioning Tunisian officials will prevent them from traveling to the UK and see their UK assets frozen, halting any business interests in the country.
Speaking in London at a press conference, Ferjani’s daughter Kaouther said: “My father and many other Tunisians are paying a very high price for their belief in human rights and their participation in democracy. The conditions in which my father is being held are a matter of greatest concern. He was put in an overcrowded cell with about 120 other prisoners, and his health is now deteriorating.”
“He lost consciousness when doctors tried to do a blood test and he could not take his blood because they were not allowed to release him. There is no need for such cruelty and injustice. I commend the UK government to our consider an application and impose sanctions on those responsible.”