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Rights group urges investigation into Tunisia protester abuses

Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] called Tuesday for an investigation [press release] into the Tunisian Security Force's alleged brutality against protesters. AI urged the interim government to immediately conduct a full investigation into the killings and allegations of serious abuse and hold the perpetrators accountable. The report reveals acts of brutality used by security forces, including shooting bystanders and fleeing protesters and firing at protesters who were not violent or threatening. According to the report, people detained by security forces were systematically beaten or subjected to other ill-treatment. AI's report states:

Amnesty International calls on the Tunisian authorities to ensure that the investigation into the unrest is independent, transparent, thorough and impartial—and that the Commission's final report is promptly made public. Those identified as responsible for human rights abuses must be brought to justice in fair trials. Families of those unlawfully killed, as well as other victims of excessive use of force or torture and other ill-treatment at the hands of security forces, must be provided with adequate reparation including, but not limited to, financial compensation.
AI called on Tunisia to conduct an independent investigation, publicly condemn torture and ill-treatment, provide victims of human rights violations with compensation and issue a formal apology.

In January, then-president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali [official website] declared a state of emergency [JURIST report] amid nationwide protests, banning public gatherings and allowing police to fire on anyone refusing to obey orders. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] urged [press release] the Tunisian government to investigate the recent deaths of public protesters [JURIST report] and called on government security forces to admit use of excessive force against them. Tunisia has been accused of numerous human rights violations [JURIST report] over the past few years. In 2009, AI released a report alleging Tunisia was continuing to commit hundreds of human rights abuses [JURIST report] despite previous vows to cease. The report detailed the arrest, torture and detention of prisoners in the name of national security, and even the kidnapping and forced return of Tunisians living abroad. In June 2008, AI released a report [text] accusing Tunisia of committing widespread human rights abuses under overly-broad anti-terrorism legislation. AI also criticized the US, as well as European and other Arab countries, for turning over terror suspects to Tunisian authorities [JURIST report] despite allegations of torture and other abuses.

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