n Africa Conflict Monthly Monitor - Post-revolution torture in Tunisia : a hard habit to break - : North Africa - issue in focus

Volume 2013, Issue 03
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The use of torture is one of the oldest strategies employed by governments to elicit information and to maintain regime stability in authoritarian political systems. In Tunisia, two years after the fragrantly-named Jasmine Revolution ousted an oppressive government, the odour of torture, utilised in the name of state security, can still befoul the air. However, on 3 January 2013, the Tunisian Ministry on Human Rights presented a draft bill establishing the National Council for Protection Against Torture (NCPT). The legislation is necessary. Despite the promise offered by the Tunisian revolution for a more just society, the practise of torture still persists in Tunisia and three official cases of torture have been reported. For the security forces, the bad practices of decades are hard to put aside. For police and army officials, the impulse is to still employ torture as a way to obtain information or discourage anti-government activity, as if a regime rather than a government by the people was still in place. Security forces argue that extreme interrogation techniques are required if a threat to national security is posed by terrorists, and that in Tunisia heavy-handed tactics are required in the Global War Against Terror, as in other countries.

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