TUNISIA: The case of magistrate Bechir AKREMI, submitted to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention


On January 31, 2024, the Association of Victims of Torture in Tunisia (AVTT) and Alkarama submitted to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions (WGAD), the situation of Mr. Bechir AKREMI, magistrate, arbitrarily arrested and held in detention for almost a year today. 

Arrest and continued detention

Mr. Bechir AKREMI was arrested on February 12, 2023 at 5 p.m. by around twenty police officers belonging to the anti-terrorist brigade in civilian clothes at his home without a court warrant and without it being notified to him the reasons for his arrest. Indicted on several charges falling mainly under the very controversial anti-terrorism law, he was placed in detention in total violation of the law and his fundamental rights. 

His case was initially submitted by Alkarama to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers in a communication dated February 7, 2023. Subsequently, given his conditions of detention, Alkarama again addressed to the Special Rapporteur on torture in a communication dated April 12, 2023

Recently, the detention of Mr. Bechir AKREMI was again extended by four months without legal reason and in the absence of any necessity by decision of the judge of instruction from the Judicial Center for the Fight against Terrorism dated January 5, 2024. 

Alkarama, jointly with AVTT, has therefore decided to submit the situation of the magistrate unjustly imprisoned for having refused to give in to threats and political pressure, experts from the UN working group in a communication dated January 31, 2024, requesting his immediate release after the arbitrary nature of his detention is recognized. 

Alkarama addresses the Working Group 

In its communication, Alkarama and the AVTT stressed that the deprivation of liberty of Mr. Bechir AKREMI, on the basis of the anti-terrorism law which does not meet the requirements of the principle of legality, makes it arbitrary his detention. Several United Nations experts had, in fact, raised the incompatibilities of the said law with the requirements of international law and called on Tunisia to reform its legislation. 

The authorities, however, persist in using this law to try to justify arbitrary arrests and deprivations of liberty of political figures, lawyers or magistrates despite the peaceful nature of their activities and even in the absence of any material evidence. 

Mr. Bechir AKREMI was placed in detention in total violation of his rights to a fair trial and on the basis of facts for which he had already been the subject of prosecutions or administrative investigations all ultimately concluded by final decisions of classification or dismissal of the case. 

Alkarama and the AVTT reiterated their concerns about the lack of independence of the judiciary, seriously compromised by the unilateral decisions of the current president who assumes total control of the justice system. Today, Mr. Bechir AKREMI finds himself confronted with a judicial system placed under the total control of the executive and therefore does not have any effective legal recourse which could allow him to assert his rights. 

For these reasons, Alkarama and the AVTT called on the GTDA to recognize the arbitrary nature of the deprivation of liberty of Mr. Bechir AKREMI and to order the Tunisian authorities to stop carrying out persecution and reprisals against an honest magistrate and to release him. immediately.