Tunisia: Majdi* arrested at Carthage airport and tortured by police in Gorjani

On 2 July 2015, Alkarama submitted an urgent appeal to the Special Rapporteur on torture (RST), Juan Méndez, regarding the case of Majdi*, who was arrested at Tunis airport on 9 June 2015, tortured for several days and is currently incarcerated at Mornaguia prison.

[Pour lire cet article en français, veuillez cliquer sur le lien suivant : Majdi arrêté à l'aéroport de Carthage et torturé par la police à Gorjani]

On 9 June 2015, as he was about to board a flight to London from Tunis, Majdi*, a 35-year-old man, was arrested by the Tunisian border police, who immediately led him to a room where he was interrogated for nearly 10 hours. At approximately 3am, he was transferred to El Gorjani – a detention centre in Tunis in which Alkarama has documented numerous cases of torture carried out since 2014. During the Special Rapporteur's visit to Tunis in June 2014, M. Méndez was denied access to El Gorjani and was interrogated by officials of the counter-terrorism unit.

Accused of having ties with terrorists, he was tortured for five days without being allowed to see his family or his lawyer, and was forced to sign the minutes of his confession without being able to read them. On 14 June 2015, the victim was brought before the investigating judge in such a unfit state that the judge decided to postpone the hearing.

Three days later, on 17 June, Majdi was again brought before the same judge, who refused to order a medical examination despite the fact that the judge himself had witnessed the signs of torture, thereby infringing his obligation under the Convention against torture (UNCAT) – ratified by Tunisia in June 1993 – to conduct "a prompt and impartial investigation, wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture has been committed in any territory under its jurisdiction." Only at the insistence of the victim's lawyer did the magistrate finally prescribe a medical examination, which to date still has not been conducted.

Majdi is now detained in deplorable conditions at Mornaguia prison. This prison crowds over 120 inmates into cells designed for 40 people, forcing them to take turns to sleep or to sleep on the floor in conditions so bad it could be tantamount to torture.

Despite his chronic diseases, Majdi has no access to an adequate medical treatment, and the prison authorities have prevented his family from bringing him his usual medicine. This further aggravates his health condition, as his relatives were able to observe during their visit, when he reported all the suffering he had experienced and continued to endure in prison, where he was severely beaten by the guards after being humiliated and totally undressed.

Today, Alkarama is highly concerned regarding these ongoing violations and reminds the Tunisian authorities of their obligations under the CAT and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) – ratified in March 1969 – to take all necessary measures to ensure that torture is not practiced under its jurisdiction. Not only the perpetrators themselves are responsible for such violations but also the supervisory authorities and judges who do not implement the obligation to investigate allegations of torture and to prosecute the perpetrators.

*Not the real name of the victim

For more information or an interview, please contact the media team at media@alkarama.org (Dir: +41 22 734 1008).

[Pour lire cet article en français, veuillez cliquer sur le lien suivant: Algérie - L'affaire de l'enlèvement d'Achour Berkaoui en face de la présidence d'El Mouradia, devant le Comité des droits de l'homme de l'ONU]