Tunisia: Faouzi Ben Mrad, lawyer; Mohamed Abbou, lawyer

Re: Faouzi Ben Mrad, lawyer; Mohamed Abbou, lawyer

To: M. Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, President de la Republique

From: Charles B. Davison, member of LRWC

Date: 2005-05-24

I last wrote to you on May 1, 2005, concerning the case of Mohamed Abbou, a lawyer who has been sentenced to imprisonment for three years and six months as a result of peacefully expressing his views and opinions upon issues of concern to him and others in your country.

I am now disappointed to read of another lawyer, Faouzi Ben M’rad, who has been ordered imprisoned for four months due to comments he made outside a courtroom where he had been pleading a case before the Court.

As you know from my last letter, I am writing to you as a member, and on behalf, of Lawyers Rights Watch Canada. We are extremely concerned about any situation where lawyers or other persons who work for the protection and respect of human rights are themselves targeted, persecuted or imprisoned for peacefully exercising their freedoms and rights under international law.

As was the case with Me. Abbou, it also appears that Me. M’rad has been imprisoned because he chose to peacefully express his views and opinions.

We respectfully call for both Mohamed Abbou and Faouzi Ben M’rad to be released immediately and their convictions and sentences quashed. The rights and freedoms of expression and opinion which all citizens of and persons in your country hold under international law should be recognized and respected by your government.