Tunisia: twenty years of suffering

Mohamed Abbou

Tunisian dissident lawyer and writer Mohamed Abbou was arrested in March 2005 and jailed for three and a half years for his internet expose of torture in Tunisian prisons. This is his first major published commentary on the state of Tunisian human rights since his release on a presidential pardon in July 2007, written to mark the 20th anniversary of the coup that brought the current government to power

How afflicting it is to live in a state that guarantees neither the rights of the person, nor their dignity or freedom, which mobilises its institutions to repress its citizens, without fear of being called to account.

How painful it is for a thinking person to see his fellow citizens so intimidated, forced to struggle to provide for their families, denied the right to personal safety and the opportunity to improve their lives. And how sad it is to note how Tunisia’s political opposition has so far failed to reverse this situation.

A state that does not respect the rule of law, a people paralysed by fear, and a weak opposition, this is the result of the 20 years that the second president of the Tunisian Republic has been in power.