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Tunisia: ICRC resumes visits to detainees

31-01-2011 News Release

Tunis/Geneva (ICRC) – After negotiating for a fortnight with the authorities, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has resumed its visits to people in Tunisian places of detention to monitor the conditions in which they are being held and the treatment they receive.

ICRC delegates held private interviews today with detainees in two prisons – one in Tunis, the other in Bizerte – that were recently the scene of riots, and in a holding facility in Tunis.

The events that have rocked Tunisia since 17 December have left many dead and wounded in the country's prisons. "It was not easy to resume these visits in the current context," said Jean-Michel Monod, head of the ICRC regional delegation in Tunis. "What matters now is to extend this access to other prisons and visit all persons arrested during the recent events who are still being held."

Since April 2005 the ICRC has been visiting detainees in Tunisia held in justice ministry facilities, as well as people held in police custody in interior ministry facilities of whose cases the organization has been notified. Under the terms of the agreement signed with the Tunisian authorities, and in accordance with the ICRC's customary working procedures, ICRC delegates must be permitted access to all persons held in all places of detention in the country, to make regular and repeated visits, and to hold private interviews with detainees of their choice.

In 2010, the ICRC visited approximately 27,000 detainees, including over 670 security detainees, during 48 visits to 31 places of detention in Tunisia. On these visits, ICRC delegates spoke individually to nearly 600 detainees.

For further information, please contact:
Steven Anderson, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 20 11 or +41 79 536 92 50
Soumaya Beltifa, ICRC Tunis, tel: +216 25 336 200