Tunisian President Accused of Complicity in Torture


A report by the Instance Verité et Dignité (IVD), or Truth and Dignity Commission, details President Beji Caid Essebsi’s alleged responsibility for crimes committed while serving as a minister in the regime of Habib Bourguiba. It also alleges extensive corruption by the former president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, his extended family, and wider network, including the misuse of public funds, enforced disappearances, and torture committed under his rule.

The report states that those “acting on behalf of or under the protection of state agencies” bear responsibility for crimes committed on their watch, a reference to Essebsi’s tenure as minister of the interior when torture was rampant, and details the killing of peaceful protesters during the uprising that toppled Ben Ali.

The exiled former president, now living in Saudi Arabia, was previously sentenced in absentia to 20 years in prison for the protesters’ deaths. He and several members of his family have been sentenced for corruption in multiple cases since the 2011 uprising, most recently in 2017 when they were handed an additional 10-year sentence for misusing a state-owned nature park.

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The Guardian