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Journalists and Online Commentators Face Persecution for Critical Reporting

Celebrating World Press Freedom Day in Rwanda may well require journalists, activists, and diplomats to toe the line of the government’s ever-growing list of forbidden topics. In a country where the president coolly gives speeches gloating about the…
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame speaks during the state funeral of Kenya’s former president, Daniel arap Moi, at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya, February 11, 2020.
News

1 Dead, Arrests for Facebook Posts and ‘Insulting Police’

(Tunis) – Police in several Tunisian governorates appear to have responded to social justice protests in recent weeks with excessive force at times, leaving one man dead and arresting hundreds, including many minors, Human Rights Watch said today.…
A protester holds up a sign saying “Police Everywhere, Justice Nowhere” during nation-wide protests calling for social justice and government reform on January 23, 2021, Avenue Habib Bourguiba, Tunis, Tunisia.
News

Repeal Laws Restraining Free Speech

(Tunis) – A Tunis court on November 12, 2020 sentenced a blogger, Wajdi Mahouechi, to two years in prison for posting a Facebook video that a court official deemed offensive, Human Rights Watch said today. Mahouechi, 31, a frequent commentator on…
A Tunisian woman walks past a graffiti that reads "Freedom is a daily practice" in Tunis April 26, 2011.
News

Two Women Face Justice for Covid-19 Jokes

It all started with harmless jokes. But because they chose humor to push back against the Coronavirus and lockdown-generated anxiety, a young Moroccan woman is now in prison, and a Tunisian woman could soon share her fate. In Morocco, the story…
People shop in the Central Market of Tunis during the first days of Ramadan, Tunis, Tunisia April 28, 2020.
News

New Government Should Suspend Abusive Laws

(Tunis) – Tunisia’s new government, approved by Parliament on February 27, 2020, should make human rights a priority, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should protect fundamental rights in eight key areas: ending criminal…
A general view of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People in Tunis, Tunisia, May 2016.
News

Accused of Inciting Hatred in a Facebook Post

(Tunis) – Tunisian authorities should drop the prosecution of a prominent activist on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights (LGBT) over a post on Facebook perceived as offensive to Islam. The counterterrorism…
Mounir Baatour, lawyer and president of Shams association, a group that defends sexual minorities.
News

Lack of a Constitutional Court Hinders Rights

(Tunis) – Tunisia still faces numerous hurdles to protecting its human rights gains nine years after Tunisians ousted the authoritarian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2020.    The…
A Tunisian woman walks past a graffiti that reads "Freedom is a daily practice" in Tunis April 26, 2011.
News

Repressive Laws Sap Free Expression

(Tunis) – Tunisian authorities are using laws on criminal defamation, “spreading false information,” and “harming others via public telecommunications networks” to prosecute people for their online commentary, Human Rights Watch said…
Revolutionary graffiti adorns a wall of the Prime Minister's office in Tunis, January 22, 2011.
News

Police Dispersed Demonstration Over Health Care

(Tunis) – Tunisian authorities should investigate allegations that police beat and sexually assaulted a protester while breaking up a sit in in Tunis on March 12, 2019, Human Rights Watch said today.  Wajdi Mahouachi, 31,…
Protestors demonstrating in front of Goverment Square on March 12, 2019 in Tunis, Tunisia.
News

Move Comes after Court Upheld Group’s Legality

(Tunis) – The Tunisian government should halt its attempt to fight a court ruling that gave an LGBT association the right to operate, Human Rights Watch said today. The Tunis-based Shams association has vocally advocated the repeal of…
People enter the Tunis hall of justice, Friday May, 26, 2017.
News

Law’s Reach Depends on Enforcement

(Tunis) – Tunisia’s first freedom of information law, approaching its third anniversary, significantly advances the rights of citizens to get information from publicly funded institutions, Human Rights Watch said today. The law’s real…
The standard form for filing a request for information under Tunisia’s 2016 “Right to Access Information Law” (Law No. 2016-22).
News

Arrests, Charges Lead to Self-Censorship

(Tunis) – Tunisian authorities are investigating, charging, and in some cases detaining bloggers and social media activists merely for their peaceful criticism of public officials, Human Rights Watch said today. Several said they have begun to…
Revolutionary graffiti adorns a wall of the Prime Minister's office in Tunis, January 22, 2011.
News
  January 14, the anniversary of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s 2011 ouster, is a now a national holiday in Tunisia. It is also a moment to examine how things are going in the country that ignited “the Arab…
The first public hearing held by the Truth and Dignity Commission (TDC), at Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia on November 17, 2016.
News

Military Courts Shouldn’t Try Civilians

  (Tunis, January 23, 2018) – A Tunisian blogger who recently won election to parliament is facing two military court trials for criticizing the army and its top brass on social media, Human Rights Watch said today. …
Tunisian protesters stand outside a military court in Tunis as they demonstrate in support of blogger Yassine Ayari during his appeal hearing on March 3, 2015.
News

Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
Report
Summary The mayor said, “All thieves must be killed.” He said it was an order. −Witness to the execution of Fulgence Rukundo on December 6, 2016 Rwandan security forces summarily executed at least…
News

Norway Deported Nkusi, Who Faces Prosecution in Rwanda

Joseph Nkusi is a Rwandan blogger who has sharply criticized Rwanda’s government, made false and inflammatory claims about the 1994 genocide, and founded a radical opposition group while living in exile in Norway. Next Monday, he is slated to go on trial…
A general view of Rwanda's capital Kigali, March 26, 2014.
News

Prosecuted for Criticizing the Army

(Tunis) – Tunisia’s military prosecutor should immediately drop charges against two journalists who criticized the country’s armed forces, Human Rights Watch said today. The prosecutor charged Rached Khiari, chief editor of the newspaper and website…
Tunisian protesters stand outside a military court in Tunis as they demonstrate in support of blogger Yassine Ayari during his appeal hearing on March 3, 2015.