Having sparked the debate since its inception, Bill No. 25/2015 on the repression of attacks against the armed forces has made its big comeback in Tunisia. Now Bill on the Protection of Internal Security Forces and Customs, amended by the Parliamentary Committee on General Legislation on 24 June last, the text raises great concerns among the ranks of human rights defenders.
On social networks, several Tunisian Internet users have launched a campaign against this bill to call for a crackdown on attacks against citizens and not against the armed forces.
In this context, the Tunisian organization I Watch published a statement in which it recalled that the Tunisian armed forces already have very strong legal protection, thus referring to the Penal Code in its section “Insults and violence against public officials or equivalent” and Article 71 of the Organic Law No. 2015-26 on the fight against terrorism and the repression of money laundering. I Watch warned against the seriousness of the bill and called on MEPs to reject it.
For Amnesty International, the bill would strengthen the impunity of security forces and protect them from criminal liability for disproportionate use of force to protect security establishments.
In this context, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Amna Guellali, said that “Despite the positive amendments to the bill that have supplanted the egregious violations of the right to freedom of expression and access to information contained in the drafts of the bill, it still contains provisions that would prevent accountability for serious human rights violations.”
Amnesty International called on Tunisian parliamentarians to vote against the law in a statement issued on Monday, 6 October.