Tunisia Win:Judicial Independence To Be Studied Despite Activist Arrests

http://allafrica.com/stories/201208060299.html

but

Sofiane Chourabi: http://www.tunisia-live.net/2012/08/05/police-use-violence-to-disburse-protest-supporting-sofiane-chourabi/ and

http://www.tunisia-live.net/2012/08/05/press-freedom-prize-winner-arrested-on-claims-of-drinking-alcohol-in-public/

In a ‘first things first’ situation the media are now speaking up on efforts by local Liberals and Libertarians to advance Judical independence in the democratizing state….at the same time, pioneering activists of libertarian orientation such as  Sofiane Chourabi who were the real authors of the freedom movement are harrassed by the extreme right/extreme left coalition using lifestyle offenses as an excuse to suppress dissent…See local Libs and others at: http://www.facebook.com/LDLL.TUNISIE

…A positive feature of the draft law is that it would restore the right of judges to appeal decisions of the Judicial Council before the Administrative Tribunal. This would conform with international standards, Human Rights Watch said. For example the United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary guarantee the right “to an independent review of decisions of disciplinary, suspension or removal proceedings.”

In other respects, however, the draft law does not contain sufficient guarantees for the job security of judges, a pillar of judicial independence. The principle of security of tenure is enshrined in several international and regional standards, such as the Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa, adopted by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights. Those principles require that judges be suspended or removed only in exceptional circumstances and according to narrowly crafted objective criteria.

Under Law no. 67-29, the 1967 statute that governs most aspects of the judicial system and still needs to be overhauled, transfers of judges were allowed for “a need within the organization,” a broad concept that under Ben Ali facilitated punitive transfers of judges who acted independently. The draft law contains similarly broad language that permits the transfer of judges for “the requirements of judicial service.”

BUT

During a protest on Avenue Habib Bourguiba in downtown Tunis this evening, August 5, police attempted to disperse the crowd using violence and profanity. Protesters said that the manifestation was planned by activist and award-winning journalist Sofiane Chourabi, prior to his arrest this morning on charges of drinking in public.

Avenue Habib Bourguiba, already crowded with families and friends drinking coffee and celebrating the breaking of their fast, was made even more congested by the protestors walking up and down the avenue. Police began pushing people out of crowded areas, at one point telling Tunisia Live journalists to leave.

At one point a group of the protesters assembled at a café and began to sing. The policemen charged the group, overturning chairs, hitting people on the head and arms and cursing at them as they chased them down the street.

Blogger Lina Ben Mhenni was one of the protestors who was injured. She said that the event was originally planned to criticize the performance of leading political party Ennahdha, including what she said was a plan to financially compensate political prisoners of the Ben Ali era.

“They can find money when it is about compensation. But when it is about fixing things like water and electricity they just ignore it,” she said, referring to recent water shortages in the country.

When Chourabi was arrested, she said, they had one more reason to take to the streets….

ALSO

… rumors have been circulating the Internet that the real reason behind Chourabi’s arrest is his history of provoking controversy against the Tunisian government. On the phone with Tunisia Live today, Tunisian blogger Lina Ben Mhenni fiercely denounced the Chourabi’s arrest. “Around 4 am, Aziz Amami [another well-known Tunisian blogger] called me and told me what had happened. He told me that no one knows the reason behind Chourabi’s arrest, and that they are trying to contact the Ministry of Interior to understand what happened,” Ben Mhenni explained.

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