Tunisia: Arrest, Detention and Prosecution of Lawyer Abderrazak Kilani | Joint letter

Full .pdf letter

On 10 May 2022, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada signed a joint letter to Tunisia’s President Kais Saied expressing grave concern about the arrest, detention and prosecution before a military tribunal of Mr. Abderrazak Kilani, a lawyer and former President of The Law Society of Tunisia from 2010 until 2012, as well as a former ambassador of Tunisia to the UN in Geneva.  It is believed that the detention and proceedings against Mr. Kilani are politically motivated and related to Mr. Kilani’s alleged involvement with the movement “Citizens against the Coup” and the fact that his client is, in addition to being a lawyer, an opposition politician. The letter draws attention to Tunisia’s international human rights law obligations, including fair trial standards, and particularly the principle that military tribunals lack jurisdiction over civilians. An annex to the letter sets out a number of relevant international law instruments.

The joint letter urges authorities in Tunisia to:

  1. Vacate the charges against Mr Kilani and discontinue any proceedings against him;
  2. Ensure compliance with Tunisia’s international legal obligations, specifically the right to a fair trial (and lack of military jurisdiction over civilians), as well as the right to freedom of expression; and
  3. Ensure that all lawyers in Tunisia can practice their profession without undue interference in compliance with international standards on the independence of the legal profession.

The letter was led by The Law Society of England and Wales and joined by Lawyers for Lawyers, the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute, and LRWC. See the full letter (pdf)