Prisoners of conscience in Tunisia are facing a tragic reality with the full meaning of the word; there are thousands of prisoners of conscience who are thrown for years in Tunisian prisons without any near solution for their ordeals; some of them were detained in early 1990s while their children were still toddlers or preschool kids; if they were released now, they would see faces in their families which will be hard to recognize because they changed over the passage of time….
Prisoners in Tunisia face- plus detention- tortures and abuses in addition to the fact that their families are continuously hunted by the regime outside prison.
To be aware of the tragic situations facing families of the Tunisian prisoners of conscience, Ikhwanweb contacted some of these families but they declined to speak to us out of their fear from the Tunisian regime.
We are here shedding light on a number of prisoners of conscience in Tunisia, attempting to stir the international and regional public opinion through civil society institutions and international human rights agencies to exercise pressures on the Tunisian regime to give vent to freedoms and human rights in Tunisia through releasing the prisoners of conscience.
A letter from father of Tunisian prisoner of conscience, Karim Harouni
To: International Community and International human rights organizations all over the world
From: Family of Karim Harouni, a Tunisian prisoner of conscience; he is The Ex-Secretary General of The Tunisian General Union of Students; he is currently serving a life sentence after a military court convicted him in august 1992; 16 years have passed and he is still behind bars.
Tunisia on March 13th, 2007
Freedom is essential for any human being; and the human being is the nucleus of any society.
Thus, freedom is a universal demand which is crucial for Mankind and for the structure of any society.
International and national covenants guarantee people’s right to practice this right.
We are the family of Karim Harouni, a Tunisian prisoner of conscience; we call for releasing our son because he was calling for freedom and exercising his rights; he called for giving freedom to people, respecting values of freedom; for this very reason, he has been, and is still, prison since 1992.
Thus, we call again all free men all over the world to exercise pressures on the Tunisian regime to immediately and unconditionally release the Secretary General of The Tunisian General Union of Students.
Karim stood trial before and was convicted by a military court that doesn’t have the least requirements for a fair trial.
PLEASE, work for releasing Karim because he spent a very long period of time in Tunisian prisons and his family is suffering too much for this.
PLEASE, take concrete steps to stop the jail of Karim and to restore his rights although the impact of such a long and painful experience can’t be healed.
It is our duty and responsibility to strongly call for releasing all prisoners, especially those who sacrificed even their freedom, like Karim, to call for the freedom and prosperity of our nation.
I BELIEVE that a positive and strong action must be taken and expect every moment that Karim will be back home
Thank you in advance for your attention and effective FREE support.
With our thanks to all of you and respect for your valuable efforts.
Peace be on you.
The father of the Opinion & Political Prisoner, Mr Karim HAROUNI, The Ex-Secretary General of The Tunisian General Union of Students
Sidi Amor - Kram-Ouest 2089 Tunis (ia)
N° 2795 at the civil prison of Mornaguia - 1110 Mornaguia-Manouba tunis(ia)
A Profile of Karim Harouni, the Tunisian prisoner of conscience
Karim Ben Amor Ben Khaled
Full name: Karim Ben Amor Ben Khaled
Family name: HAROUNI
Date & place of birth: 17th of December 1960 at la Marsa-Northern Suburb of Tunisia
He is twin (of a sister)
Marital Status: Single
Previous Address: Mahmoud Beirem Tounsi Street N° 11 Marsa Beach - La Marsa Tunis (ia)
New address: Building 26.26 Bloc B Apartment 04B-Sidi Amor Kram Ouest 2089 le Kram-Tunis.
Studies: He was a distinguished student and was respected by his teachers and University professors.
He succeeded in the Baccalaureat exam with "Good Mention" marks in June 1979 session in Mathematics and Sciences section.
University Studies: At the Tunisian National Ingineering School (Ecole Nationale des Ingénieurs de Tunis: E.N.I.T) in the campus of Universities of Sciences in Tunis.
He graduated as a High Engineer in Civil Engineering (’Ingénieur Principal en génie civil’) in July 1985.
He wanted to continue his studies, seeking PhD but, unfortunately police hunting and detention prevented him from that.
Karim managed to lay the foundation of the Tunisian General Union of Students (U.G.T.E ) and was elected as the Secretary General of this organization and he was supported by thousands of students all over the Tunisian Republic; the U.G.T.E was dissolved later by the government.
- He was elected Secretary-General of the biggest student organization in April 1985 till 1986 to be elected again in December 1986 and he remained in this post till 1988, as he was imprisoned to retreat him from the students’ union and political places and then the secretary general position continued to be by replacement.
-In 1989, he headed the students’ union conference and called on students at that time for giving other students the chance to assume his post as secretary general of the student union.
- He was tried in the era of late president Bourguiba in 1987, for his belonging to the Tunisian Islamic Trend movement, and was sentenced to 5 years in prison (the sentence was 10 years before Karim’s appealing) and 10 administrative probation after the sentence; he was released on Nov., 6, 1988 after a presidential amnesty along with another group of his fellow comrades, and the president declared the abolishing of the security state court.
-When current president Zein Al-Abidin bin Ali assumed office through a bloodless coup in 1987, he was tried again in absentia by Ben Arous Court of First Instance which sentenced him to 9 months after he appealed; another civil court sentenced him to two years in prison; the purpose of all these trials was excluding him from the student arena and the political life in the country.
- Harouni stood trial later before a military court in August 1992 as part of a fierce crackdown that targeted the Islamists because of his belonging to Al Nahda (renaissance) Islamic movement- formerly the Islamic Trend movement- and he was sentenced to life imprisonment.
- Harouni faced severe kinds of torture in jail; he was held for two years in solitary confinement in the civil prison in Sfax on April, 18, 2003; this made him stage continuous hunger strikes mostly reaching more than 50 days to protest at the maltreatment to the extent that his health was in jeopardy
- He was tortured in the offices of the state security police in the Interior Ministry during initial investigations after arresting him; Harouni faced various kinds of torture he suffered internal bleeding that was about to lead to his death; there are still signs of torture on his back and right thigh due to intensive beating and torture.
- Harouni family is suffering a lot while visiting him in prison; his family is also socially alienated by people and even relatives because they fear the state security raids although they sympathize with his family, and, financially speaking Karim’s family was to spend a lot of money by now and they needed money for the prison visit requirements, like transportation, food, clothes and books and other stuffs he needs to buy inside prison; the family is facing other problems related to living conditions.
Heartbroken for her son’s ordeal, Harouni’s mother died, may Allah have mercy on her; his 75 years old frail father is suffering from blood pressure; add to these calamities other passive and tense psychotically pains affecting all members of the family of Harouni, a prisoner of conscience whose only sin was that he was seeking welfare, freedom and development for his family and country, Tunisia.