8 February 2013
Tunis/ Brussels – As Chokri Belaïd’s funeral takes place in a climate of high tensions, Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF) calls on the Tunisian authorities to carry out an independent and impartial investigation of the political leader’s death. Such measures will ensure justice regarding the assassination of M. Belaïd, a lawyer and human rights defender.
“We offer our sincere condolences to the family of M. Belaïd, a key leader of the Tunisian opposition. His freedom of speech and his political engagement cost him his life. This is unacceptable in the rule of law and cannot go unpunished,” declared Francesca Boniotti, Executive Director of ASF in Brussels.
ASF is pleased with the swift opening of the investigation by Tunisian authorities but insists that measures be taken in order to preserve the independence and impartiality of the investigation, so that justice is achieved. In the current atmosphere, only such measures can appease the public opinion of the Tunisian people and contribute to restoring their confidence in their justice system. “For this to happen, one should consider involving high-level neutral figures– even international investigators – in the search for truth,” suggests Ms. Boniotti.
More generally, ASF is concerned about the increasing number of acts of violence which affect the Tunisian society and the related sense of impunity. ASF calls for authorities to guarantee the necessary measures to ensure that different viewpoints and thoughts can be expressed in a secure and stable climate.
ASF salutes the Tunisian men and women engaged in the fight for justice and respect of human rights, and encourages them to pursue, in spite of the difficulties, their efforts in establishing the rule of law in their country.
Specialised in the support of access to justice for those people most vulnerable and support for lawyers, ASF has been active in Tunisia since the beginning of 2012. In partnership with the Tunisian League for Human Rights and the National Organisation of lawyers of Tunisia, the organisation supports among others the Observation Network of Transitional Tunisian Justice.