Young people from a popular neighborhood in Tunisia demonstrated for a week against police violence after the death of one of their number on October 14. Following the clashes, the Ministry of the Interior made around 30 arrests. In recent years, the Tunisian League for Human Rights has recorded nearly 20 cases of young people who died in suspicious circumstances during altercations with the police.
Young Tunisians are demanding justice for Omar Labidi, a football fan who drowned in a river in 2018 while trying to escape a police patrol. His trial has dragged on for almost four years.
Labidi’s case is not isolated. In Hay Etthadamen, another popular area, young people have taken to the streets every night for the past week to protest against police violence after the death of Malek Sellimi, 24, one of them, on October 14.
Following the skirmishes of last week, the Tunisian Ministry of the Interior carried out around thirty arrests. Sellimi had recorded a video in which he spoke of the police abuse he had suffered before falling into a coma. One of his friends, who prefers to remain anonymous, expresses his dismay: “We trust in justice, we want Malek’s right to fair justice to be recognized”.
And the case is far from over. Sayida Ayari awaits the release of her brother Fourath, close to Sellimi and witness to the circumstances of his death. He was arrested at his home and is currently being questioned by the police.
“Yesterday I spent an hour at the Gorjani police station asking where my brother was,” says Sayida Ayari. “Every time I’ve been given a different version…I haven’t heard from him, I really feel like they’re trying to pressure him, intimidate him.”
In recent years, the Tunisian League for Human Rights has recorded nearly 20 cases of young people who died in suspicious circumstances during altercations with the police.
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