Friday, March 31, 2023

Tunisia extends five-year state of emergency by six months | Middle East News

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Measure in place since an attack in 2015 against a presidential guard bus claimed by the EIIL group.

The Tunisian presidency has announced a six-month extension of the state of emergency in the country, in place since the 2015 attack on a presidential guard bus claimed by the ISIL group (ISIS).

President Kais Saied “has decided to extend the state of emergency nationwide for six months from December 26, 2020 to June 23, 2021,” a statement said on Friday.

A state of emergency was first declared on November 24, 2015, following the attack on the presidential guard, which left 12 people dead.

The measure, extended without interruption since the end of 2015, grants exceptional powers to the country’s security forces. It makes it possible to prohibit measures “to ensure control of the press” and to prohibit strikes and meetings “which create disorder”.

Human rights groups have consistently denounced the measure, claiming that it has led to numerous human rights violations.

Tunisia has experienced political and social instability in recent weeks, as well as demonstrations in several regions.

The country faced increased activity by armed groups after its 2011 revolution, with attacks killing dozens of security personnel, civilians and foreign tourists.

The 2015 attack in the capital Tunis killed 12 presidential guards and followed two other deadly attacks claimed by ISIS that year: one at the Bardo museum in the capital and another at a seaside resort in the coastal town of Sousse.

On Thursday, a man “of extremist appearance” tried to attack a policeman with a knife in Tunis while shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“God is the greatest” in Arabic), the interior ministry said in a statement. communicated.

Officials on Sunday said the decapitated body of a 20-year-old man was found in the central Kasserine region as part of a likely “terrorist” attack.

The central mountainous region is also a hiding place for the Tunisian branch of the armed group al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), known as Okba Ibn Nafaa.

In addition to the state of emergency, a nighttime curfew is in place in Tunisia to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, which has infected more than 126,000 people and killed more than 4,300 in the country, according to figures from the Ministry of Health .


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