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ANHRI denounces ongoing police harassment of Tunisian League for Human Rights

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, October 24th, 2010 - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) expressed deep dismay at the continued security limitations on all offices of the Tunisian League for Human Rights that started five years ago. The League members suffer restrictions on their activities as well as personal assaults and inhibitions on their right to express, participate and organize.

The latest harassment occurred in October when police officers circled the League office at Qleibiya and prevented the board from holding their meeting.

The Tunisian League was founded 33 years ago, on May 7th, 1977. It was the first independent organization to defend human rights in Tunisia, the Arab world and all of Africa. The League organized five conferences, the last of which was held in October 2000. As they prepared for the sixth conference that was scheduled for September 2005, the Tunisian government cancelled it by a court order and imposed a police siege on the League ever since. In May 2006, the League tried to hold the sixth conference but was stopped once again following a complaint from the members of the Constitutional Democratic Assembly, the ruling party in Tunisia.

The League and other independent organizations declared October 24th, 2010 a national day calling for the lifting of the siege on the League. ANHRI declares its complete support with the Tunisian League against the continuous harassment, the unfair security siege and the restriction of all peaceful activities supporting human rights. ANHRI urges all stakeholders and concerned bodies of freedom of expression and the right to organize to take positive steps in solidarity with the Tunisian League and to pressure the Tunisian government to lift the siege.

ANHRI said, "The Tunisian League is not the only organization that is subjected to such unfair restrictions. Ever since Ben Ali came to power, Tunisia topped the list of countries hostile to freedom of expression. In addition to the continued violations against the League , Ben Ali has gone for more autocratic practices, like banning partisan newspapers, imposing restrictions on the opposition, assaults on activists and fabricating charges against journalists and activists and other practices that prove the dictatorship of Ben Ali, who earned titles like 'Arab Pinochet' and 'Journalist Hunter'. All these oppressive practices deeply affect Tunisia's image and relations with the international community."

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