Tunisia: “Inmates Living Hellish Conditions”- Human Rights NGO

Tunisian authorities’ attention was drawn Thursday on the living conditions of inmates in the country’s prisons that the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Observatory likens to mediaeval era life.

The NGO described inmates’ life unbearable as conditions fail to meet international standards due to increase in the number of the inmates. The number has increased two-fold, the NGO noted.

The North African country has become the fourth Arab country with the largest number of prisons and inmates, according to the human rights organization.

There are 53,000 inmates in Tunisian prisons in 2016 against 25,000 last year. The 53,000 individuals share 16,000 beds, meaning 3 persons for one bed. In such conditions, some detainees are forced to sleep on the floor.

The conditions are characterized by poor ventilation, poor lighting, dirty blankets and beds which spread infectious diseases.

The overpopulation of detention centers has been caused mainly by the “excessive arrests” witnessed under the state of emergency imposed by authorities to fight terrorism, the NGO stressed.

“We are seriously preoccupied by the repeated extension of the state of emergency in Tunisia,” said Yahya Achraf, a researcher at the NGO.

“The emergency law in place since November 24, 2015 raises the specter of security forces’ domination and the suppression of civil rights,” he stressed.

Under the law, some inmates were subjected to authority-allowed torture, the NGO further noted, adding that the conditions in the prisons have fostered radicalization as ordinary inmates have been mingled with terrorists.

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