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Tunis

From our correspondent

Despite her voice broken with grief, Kawther is determined to speak up to demand the truth about her brother’s death. Ahmed Ben Ammar, 30, died on June 8 in suspicious conditions in their working-class neighborhood of Sidi Hassine in Tunis.

Kawther, dressed in a T-shirt bearing the likeness of her brother and wearing a black mourning veil, recalls that tragic night. She learned from her brother’s fiancee that the police “Hit him on the head, on the hands, on the neck.” “And my brother lost consciousness, then they put him in their car and then threw him in the street”, she reports. Then, she adds, a friend found him on the ground and took him to the hospital where he died. Herself has “Saw in the morgue the marks of beatings on his head, his arms, his neck”. Why him ? Her brother has never been arrested before, she says.

The forensic doctor’s report has not yet been published and the investigation carried out by the anti-crime brigades is underway, according to Fethi Smati, spokesperson for the Tunis 2 court of first instance. According to the family’s lawyer, Yassine Azaza, the police have still not been heard. “The law is not applied, nothing is done against police impunity”, he denounces.

Bilel Tazni, the lawyer for the three police officers concerned, assures that his clients patrolled in this “Drug point of sale”, and controlled Ahmed who allegedly swallowed drugs. “The police handcuffed him, but he struggled and guys from his neighborhood assaulted the police. Ahmed managed to escape and the police withdrew ”, says the lawyer.

Since this death, demonstrations have taken place every evening, suppressed by tear gas fire. A new march is scheduled for Friday, June 18.

Anger redoubled and spread to other neighborhoods after a violent arrest on June 9 of a minor in Sidi Hassine. A widely circulated video shows members of the internal security forces, one of whom is armed, who appear to be forcibly undressing and molesting the 15-year-old on the ground.

The police claim that he was alcoholic and undressed on his own. The young man and his mother claim that he was protecting himself from tear gas. “The investigation is in progress”, according to Fethi Smati. “The police must be held to account”, Kawther proclaims, denouncing the harassment of his family and witnesses. A few meters from his house, dozens of police are patrolling.

“The police threw tear gas into my house the evening of Ahmed’s death and even after his funeral the next day”, testifies Loubna, a neighbor of Ben Ammar. This young mother is worried: “Before, I used to get closer to the police when I was afraid of someone in the street, now I’m afraid of them. “

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern on June 14 about “These serious and repeated violations since the beginning of the year (who) reveal continuing dysfunctions within the internal security services ”. The head of government and interim interior minister since January, Hichem Mechichi was to be heard this weekend by a parliamentary committee. And 67 organizations, including the Human Rights League and the Journalists’ Union, have decided to file a complaint against him and against the perpetrators of the acts in question.

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