Tunisia: State repression of political opponents escalates

New wave of arrests of activists

On Saturday, 21 September, in the Lafayette neighbourhood in Tunis, at around 4am, police illegally raided the home of Abid Nejib – an activist and founder of ‘Radio Chaabi’, one of the first free independent radio stations created after the ousting of dictator Ben Ali. The police made eight arbitrary arrests.

As well as Nejib, Yahya Dridi, a sound technician, Abdallah Yahya, an activist filmmaker, three musicians, Slim Abida, Skander Ben Ayed and Mahmoud Abid, and two female activists, were detained without any formal reason being given for their arrest.

All of those arrested are ‘children of the revolution’, whose activities the regime found irritating. The regime decided to send them to prison while murderers of protesters, jihadist terrorists and corrupt businessmen are running free and enjoy the impunity afforded them by the ruling clique.

The arrests, which followed a series of other arrests and convictions of a similar character (see http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/6458), indicate a methodical process of repression against the forces of the revolution; a process that has clearly escalated in the recent weeks.

The police and judicial harassment that affects many activists, critical artists and journalists in Tunisia reveals the use of the judiciary system for political purposes, in the context of widespread rejection of the current political Islamist government.

Increasingly the government of Ennahda is repeating the dirty methods of the Ben Ali dictatorship with the aim of silencing opposition voices. The regime uses the same police apparatus and the laws that formed for years the backbone of the Ben Ali dictatorship.

The CWI and its activists in Tunisia condemn the current wave of state terror and repression against opponents of the regime. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of all these comrades and of all the political prisoners in the country.

We encourage all those who can to urgently mobilize to protest against these arrests and against the repressive machinery of the Tunisian state.

We say:

  • No to arbitrary arrests and political trials!
  • Defence of all democratic rights!
  • Release all political prisoners!
  • Not to a new dictatorship! Down with the Ennahda regime!
  • For the continuation of the revolution, for a revolutionary government of workers and youth!

Please send protest letters to Tunisia’s Justice Ministry at: mju@ministeres.tn, and send copies to cwi@worldsoc.co.uk.

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September 2013