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Highlights of New Tunisian Laws Protecting the Rights of Persons in Detention

Published in the Official Gazette of the Tunisian Government, August 6, 1999

Law No 89/1999 of August 2, 1999 amending provisions of the code of criminal procedure

Article 101bis

A public servant or an equivalent who during the performance of his duties or by reason of performing such duties submits a person to torture shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of eight years.

Torture means any act that results in causing physical or mental pain or extreme suffering willfully inflicted on the concerned person with the aim of obtaining information or a confession from him or from another; or to punish him for an act he or another committed or are suspected of having committed; or to intimidate him or another; or when the infliction of pain and extreme suffering occurs for any reason related to discrimination of any kind.

Law No 90/1999 of August 2, 1999 amending provisions of the code of criminal procedure

In the name of the People, and following the approval of the Parliament, the President of the Republic hereby promulgates the following Act:

Chapter One

The provisions of article 13bis and paragraph 2 of article 57...of the code of criminal procedure are hereby repealed and replaced by the following:

Article 13bis

1. In cases where the needs of investigation require the detention of the suspect, including arrest during the commission of the offense or misdemeanor, law enforcement officials indicated in sections 3 and 4 of article 10, and law enforcement officials attached to custom officials within their powers provided for under the customs act, shall not detain the suspect for a period exceeding three days. They shall inform the attorney general about such a detention.

2. The attorney general may only once extend the detention in writing for the same duration.

3. The law enforcement official shall inform the suspect in a language that he understands of the measure taken against him, its reasons, and its duration. The law enforcement official shall read to the suspect his entitlement under the law to have access to medical examination during the period of detention.

4. The law enforcement official shall inform a direct or indirect family member, or a brother, or a spouse of the suspect, as chosen by him, of the measure taken against him and its duration.

5. The detainee or any of the persons indicated in the precedent article may ask that he undergo a medical examination during the detention period or after its expiration.

6. The record written by the law enforcement official shall register the following information:

* That the suspect was informed of the measure taken against him and the reason for it.

* That the detainee was read his entitlements under the law.

* Whether the family of the suspect under detention was informed or not.

* If applicable, the request for medical examination submitted by the suspect or a

member of his family.

* Date and hour of the beginning of the detention and end thereof.

* Signature of the law enforcement official and the detainee. In case the latter refuses to sign the reason shall be recorded.

7. Law enforcement officials indicated under article one of this chapter shall keep at places of detention a special register with numbered pages that shall be signed by the attorney general or his assistant. Such register shall record the following information:

* Identity of the detainee.

* Date and hour of the beginning of the detention and end thereof.

* The informing of the family of the measure taken.

* If applicable, request for a medical examination made either by the detainee, a direct or indirect family member, or brothers, or spouse.

Article 57 (new second paragraph)

When a suspect who was not heard by an investigating judge as a defendant is detained by a law enforcement official, such detention shall not exceed three days after informing the acting investigative judge. The acting investigative judge may extend the detention only once in writing.

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