Parliamentary question by Olivier Dupuis (NI) to the Commission and answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission
WRITTEN QUESTION E-2181/03
by Olivier Dupuis (NI) to the Commission
(19 June 2003)
Subject: Thirty-fifth day of the hunger strike by the cyber-dissident Zouhair Yahyaoui
Zouhair Yahyaoui has been detained in prison since 4 June 2002, and has been on hunger strike for 35 days. He was formerly webmaster of the TuneZine website, which broadcasts information on the rule of law and public rights in Tunisia, and is currently serving a two-year prison sentence. At the end of a trial that was strongly criticised by numerous Tunisian and international organisations, he was found guilty of "propagation of false news" on 20 June 2002 and lost an appeal against this conviction on 10 July 2002. His case was referred to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on 27 August 2002. Mr Yahyaoui has been on several hunger strikes in protest against a sentence which he views as punishing freedom of expression. He is currently 35 days into his latest hunger strike. Although there are now great concerns over his state of health, Mr Yahyaoui is still being held in an overcrowded cell in particularly degrading conditions. On 4 June 2002, Ms Sophie Piekarec, who is Mr Yahyaoui's fiancée and a French national, was turned out of the country on her arrival at Carthage airport, before she was able to visit Mr Yahyaoui.
Is the Commission keeping abreast of Mr Yahyaoui's situation? What action has it taken to induce the Tunisian authorities to take urgent steps to guarantee decent prison conditions and the appropriate medical care for Mr Yahyaoui and to immediately release him pending a new trial on the basis of internationally recognised rules?
What action has the Commission taken, or will it take, to induce the Tunisian authorities to respect the international principles pertaining to the rights of the individual and in particular the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1998, Articles 6.b and 6.c of which state that "Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: ... As provided for in human rights and other applicable international instruments, freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms" and "to study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters"?
Answer given by Mr Patten
on behalf of the Commission
(24 July 2003)
The Commission is carefully monitoring the situation of Mr Zouhair Yahiaoui through the Commission Delegation in Tunis and through contact with bodies that defend human rights.
Through these channels to the Tunisian authorities the Commission has repeatedly expressed its concern regarding Mr Yahiaoui and others in a similar position. The next meeting of the EU-Tunisia Association Council, on 29 September 2003, will provide a further occasion to try to obtain better prison conditions for the detainees and to draw attention to the fact that Tunisia is in breach of the right to freedom of expression.
We would take this opportunity also to inform you that, through the MEDA programme, the Commission is actively engaged in modernising the Tunisian judicial system and making it more independent.
More generally, to promote respect of human rights more effectively in the Mediterranean area, the Commission has adopted a communication concerning a new impetus to be given to human rights and democratisation projects which will be implemented by the European Union in partnership with Mediterranean countries. In this connection the Commission will be proposing to its partners that they draw up plans for specific action.
Members and contributors 2013
|Giuseppe R. Roma||590 €|
|Salvatore P. Capistrello||200 €|
|Giancarlo B. Torino||30 €|
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|Giuseppe P. Grottammare||50 €|
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TunisiaLIBYA/BONINO: "ITALY SHOULD SUSPEND UNILATERALLY THE LIBYA-ITALIAN TREATY OF FRIENDSHIP"
TunisiaTUNISIA: THE FAILURE OF THE TUNISIAN AUTHORITIES TO RESPECT THE HUMAN RIGHTS CLAUSE SHOULD LEAD THE COMMISSION TO ESTABLISH A SERIES OF MEASURES OF RETORSION
TunisiaTUNISIA: ISLAM AND FREEDOM. SMEAR CAMPAIGN AGAINST MOHAMMED CHARFI AND THE CONNIVANCE OF THE BEN ALI REGIME
TunisiaTUNISIA: HUNGER STRIKE BY HAMADI JEBALI REACHES 36TH DAY. IS THE COMMISSION AWARE OF THE GRAVITY OF THE SITUATION ?
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