Interviews with recently released prisoners in Tunisia refute government denials that it is holding dozens of political prisoners in prolonged solitary confinement or isolation, some for over a decade, Human Rights Watch said in a report released Wednesday.
The 39-page report, “Tunisia: Crushing the Person, Crushing a Movement,” charges that the government’s policy of isolation is driven not by legitimate penological concerns. Rather, this national policy seeks to punish and demoralize jailed leaders of the banned Nahdha (Renaissance) party, as part of government efforts to destroy the country’s Islamist movement. “The Tunisian government must end its policy of trying to crush political prisoners by throwing them into solitary confinement for years on end,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Tunisia should grant an amnesty to its political prisoners, but until that happens, the isolation policy must end.”