Tunisia inmates wage hunger strike to decry conditions

Local human rights advocates say prisoners’ basic rights are frequently violated

Tunisia inmates wage hunger strike to decry conditions

World Bulletin / News Desk

At least 80 Tunisian prison inmates are waging a hunger strike to protest the regulations governing the country’s prison system, a local official said Monday.

Sufian Mzighish, a spokesman for Tunisia’s General Prison Administration, told reporters that 80 inmates convicted earlier on terrorism charges had been waging an open-ended hunger strike since last Tuesday in the Mernaviya detention facility near capital Tunis.

"The hunger strikers are seeking to impose their will,” Mzighish told reporters. “They don’t respect the [facility’s] regulations and are refusing to remain in their cells."

The spokesman explained that inmates were housed in the facility according to the charges against them and their behavior.

“This is to prevent extremist ideologies from spreading among the inmate population within the framework of a national strategy by which Tunisia operates its prison system,” he explained.

Mzighish conceded, however, that there had been "isolated incidents of torture" in the country’s prisons, but insisted that such cases were “dealt with through the proper legal channels”.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, lawyer Anwar Awlad, the head of the Observatory for Rights and Freedoms in Tunis, a local NGO, attributed frequent hunger strikes by prisoners to “frequent torture and deprivation of their basic rights”.

According to Tunisia’s General Prison Administration, the country’s prisons currently contain more than 1,500 inmates convicted of -- or awaiting trial for -- terrorism-related offenses.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Kasım 2017, 10:59