Wednesday, February 2, 2011

In Tunisia, abuses by armed groups maintain a climate of tension

Tunis Special Envoy - tapping his chest, Farhat Rajhi has cracked a smile: "They stole my glasses, my laptop ..." The statements by the Tunisian Minister of Interior, Tuesday 1 February, the private television channel Hannibal TV, however, had no fun.
In a surprising transaction transparency, this former prosecutor Bizerte acknowledged that the interim government redrafted, in which he himself entered January 27, had gone to the brink of disaster yesterday, when "2000 to 3000 "Police and militia" from the former regime "have invaded the interior ministry, forcing him to leave under military escort. "The majority of those who have returned to my office were armed," he admitted, blaming "conspiracy". For twenty-four hours, Tunisia has experienced psychosis in a flashback.
No more police were visible, "general strike". Armed groups have emerged, like at Kasserine (West), where the sub-prefecture was sacked, but also in Tunis. The flights of Air France and other airlines have been canceled due to protests at the airport Tunis-Carthage.
To these elements, although real, were added others, imaginary and disturbing. A synagogue was burned at Gabes. Child abductions were reported. That was enough for that on Tuesday, all parents hastily withdraw their children from school, encouraged by teachers. In the evening, the government had to respond by rejecting the abductions and promising measures.
Mr. Rajhi has announced the sacking of 42 senior security officials, the reinstatement of policemen scrapped or written off in recent years and wage increases. An army general, Ahmed Cheb, became head of national security, while former Interior Minister Rafik Belhaj Kacem, who was fired two days before the leak of former Head of State, Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, was arrested and remanded in custody.
Mr. Rajhi also urged the police to resume work, and urged Tunisians to forgive the police, Ben Ali pillars of the regime and responsible for the violence - sometimes lethal force against protesters - have been 147 fatalities, over 72 killed prisons, according to the UN. "Think it might be your father, your brother ...", urged the Interior Minister.
A public television, the education minister, government spokesman, Taieb Baccouche, announced the adoption of four protocols, including the Convention for the Protection of Persons against Enforced Disappearances and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. "There was an atmosphere of fear is quite normal in a transitional period, told the World Mr. Baccouche, wanting reassurance. I think a significant improvement in the situation will take place tomorrow."
Nevertheless, the police violence and abuses by armed groups and militias continue to feed the fears. According to figures from the Department of Justice collected by Le Monde, 11 029 prisoners escaped from prison in January, during the uprising Tunisian, one third of the prison population estimated at 31,000 people!
Only 1,470 of these prisoners had been recaptured on January 29, according to the Ministry, who called Tuesday, the fugitives to surrender. However, they are often regarded as auxiliary police of Mr. Ben Ali.
"The violence shown by the police against the demonstrators recently in Tunis demonstrates the need for the Transitional Government of Tunisia to abandon violent means of repression used regularly by the previous government," was indignant, Tuesday, the humanitarian organization Human Rights Watch said in a statement. Two of his investigators have reported having seen, on Avenue Habib Bourguiba, the beating of a youth in a police van, then the attack on a French photographer.
Added to this violent evacuation, January 28, Place de la Kasbah occupied by youths who demanded the resignation of the first transitional government. In this regard, the interior minister has promised an investigation.

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