Sixteen Tunisian and international organizations, including Amnesty International, have issued a joint statement calling on the Tunisian authorities to "immediately" release filmmaker IssamBouguerra, who has been jailed on charges of using and possessing cannabis.
Imprisoned since 24 August 2021, IssamBouguerra was sentenced to 15 months in prison on 24 November. Given the time he had already spent in pre-trial detention, he should have been released following the judgment, as he had already served his sentence. Nevertheless, the same day, the prosecutor of the Tunis Court of First Instance appealed against his conviction, apparently requesting a more severe sanction, the NGOs said.
In their statement, the organisations stressed that the case of IssamBouguerra is "representative of the suffering endured by thousands of people deprived of their liberty in Tunisia for their mere consumption of drugs".
According to a recent report published by Avocats sans frontières, more than 2,500 people were detained for drug-related offences in 2019, 60% of whom were detained solely for the consumption of such products.