Pre-Trial Detention Overcrowding Tunisia’s Prisons

April 28, 2014 – More than half of those detained in Tunisia’s prisons have not yet stood trial and in some instances have been behind bars for up to three years waiting to have their cases heard.

These are among the details in a UN human rights office report released on Monday on the state of prison’s in the North African country where a popular uprising in 2011 overthrew the country’s autocratic regime.

The report says that the high number of pre-trial detainees is causing over crowding and those accused of minor offenses are housed in the same institution as those convicted of serious crimes.

In Manouba Women’s Prison, one dormitory held 60 inmates but only ten of them had been convicted. The report also notes the high number of university students imprisoned for drug offenses and recommends a progressive approach to drug consumption offenses from fines to sentence suspension, then imprisonment.

The full report is here (Arabic).

Denis Fitzgerald
On Twitter @denisfitz

Image: Wikimedia

Kosovo Next for UN Recognition?


Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian delegation celebrate Thursday’s historic UNGA vote recognizing Palestine as a state. (photo credit: UN photo)

Nov. 30, 2012 – Yesterday’s victory for Palestine at the UN will give hope to Kosovo that it too can soon join the United Nations as a non-member state.

To date, some 96 countries have recognized Kosovo as an independent state including 22 of the 27 EU member states. Pristina needs 97 votes in the General Assembly (simple majority) for admission as a non-member observer state.

Like the Palestinians, Kosovo’s road to full UN membership is blocked in the Security Council, with Russia sure to use its veto to prevent Pristina’s full-member state status¬†

Among the countries that have yet to recognize Kosovo are several member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, including Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Libya, Morocco, Pakistan and Tunisia.

Morocco and Pakistan have expressed support for an independent Kosovo state but are concerned about the implications for their own territorial integrity due to the situations in Western Sahara and Kashmir.

Similarly, EU member states, Cyprus and Spain – who both voted in favor recognizing Palestine – have not recognized Kosovo. Both are also wary of the implications for their own territorial issues regarding Catalonia and Northern Cyprus.

It may well be the fledging governments in Libya and Tunisia who will bring Kosovo over the threshold with Tunis and Tripoli in the past year indicating support for recognizing an independent Kosovo, though neither has yet made a formal declaration.  

Should Kosovo seek a General Assembly vote before Sept 2013 then former Serb foreign minister Vuk Jeremic would preside over the session in his capacity as president of the 193-member assembly.

Denis Fitzgerald

(UN recognition of Kosovo as a state would also pave the way for its acceptance into football’s international governing body, FIFA. The country could then participate in international qualifying competitions for the quadrennial Euro and World Cup tournaments, a move that would be very welcome in football-mad Kosovo)