Lawyers in Tunisia are paying a stiff price for their growing human rights activism, Human Rights Watch said today.
In a briefing paper released today, Human Rights Watch documents a series of recent measures that heighten pressure on lawyers who criticize the government.
"Lawyers, like all Tunisians who publicly demand respect for human rights, are facing a campaign of intimidation, violence and legal maneuvers waged by a government determined to silence them," said Hanny Megally, executive director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa division.
In December, plainclothes police assaulted several lawyers in separate incidents in downtown Tunis with complete impunity. Tunisian authorities have also refused to legalize two human rights organizations founded recently by lawyers. And the independent-minded leadership of the national Bar Association is currently fighting a lawsuit challenging its authority to call a strike