Petition for the release of prisoners of opinion from the Gafsa region

Press release
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On the eve of presidential and legislative elections in Tunisia, we, the undersigned organisations and individuals, call for the immediate and unconditional release of all of the protesters, trade unionists, human rights defenders and journalists arbitrarily sentenced following proceedings in blatant violation of the fundamental principles of fair trial and for the end of the crackdown imposed on the population of the Gafsa region.

In January 2008, the phosphate-rich Gafsa Governorate was the birthplace of an unprecedented movement of peaceful social protest. The first demonstrations to denounce corruption, poverty and unemployment took place in January in the town of Redeyef, and progressively spread to other towns in the basin.
Support committees for the protesters were rapidly constituted at the national and international level. From April, and more massively since July, the Tunisian authorities have carried out a violent crackdown against the actors of the movement, the protesters and the leaders of the support committees.

The Tunisian authorities’ crackdown on the movement led to the death of several individuals, hundreds of violent and unlawful arrests, torture and ill treatment, dozens of prisoners of conscience, physical abuse and humiliation of families, etc.

The National Committee in Support of the Inhabitants of the Phosphate-Rich region, in cooperation with the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (a joint programme of FIDH and OMCT), the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, le Council for the Respect of Freedoms and Human Rights in Tunisia, the Federation of Tunisians for a two-shore Citizenship and Amnesty International - France, are calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience of the Gafsa region and the reinstatement of all their rights: sign the petition !

On October 9, 2009, an international day of solidarity with the inhabitants of the Gafsa region will be organised. Events will be organised on this occasion in the following countries (Paris, Nantes, Marseille, Algiers, Rabat, Cairo, Montréal, Geneva…).

Tunisia – Solidarity with the inhabitants of the Gafsa region

Call for the release of the prisoners of conscience of the Gafsa region

Far afield from the ostentatious festivities of the electoral campaign, the population of the phosphate-rich region continues to face from a fierce crackdown, which has been ongoing for over one and a half years. Police control remains constant, retaliation measures are taken on a daily basis and all forms of gatherings are banned.

Finally, the signatories of this appeal urge the Tunisian authorities to reinstate the rights of all prisoners of conscience and their families.


Tunisie : Pétition pour la libération des prisonniers d’opinion du bassin minier

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