Tunisia offers condolences on death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi [Upd 1]


Tunis: Tunisia Monday offered condolences to the Iranian leadership and people on the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

“It was with the deepest sadness that we learnt of the death of Iran’s president and a number of officials in a helicopter crash on Sunday,” the Presidency of the Republic said in a statement.

“Tunisia offers its heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathy to the Iranian leadership and people, praying God the Almighty to grant him his infinite mercy,” further reads the statement. Tunisia also expressed full solidarity in these painful circumstances.

Iran’s state television officially announced at dawn the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash close to Azerbaijan border. A number of officials were also killed in the crash, including Foreign minister Hossein Amir-abdollahian.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Eight political parties call for withdrawal of Decree-Law 54


Tunis: Eight opposition political parties have strongly condemned the recent arrests of radio and television columnists and lawyers and called for the “withdrawal of Decree Law 54″ (on combating offences related to information and communication systems).

The government’s aim is to silence all free voices among activists, journalists and lawyers,” they said in a joint press release issued on Monday. “Political prisoners” must be released, they added.

The “two police interventions” at the Lawyers’ House “reflect the intimidation exercised by the current government against its opponents”.

According to these parties, “the return of torture against opposition figures also reflects the depth of the political crisis that has hit the ruling power”.

The parties also expressed their full solidarity with the lawyers in their “struggle for the independence of their profession and of the judiciary” in Tunisia.

The signatory parties are: The Workers’ Party, the Democratic Courant, the Socialist Party, Al Joumhouri, Al
Massar, Afek Tounes, Al Qotb and Ettakatol.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

HAICA, prosecutor’s office: which role? [Upd 1]


Tunis: In its capacity as an audiovisual regulator, the Independent High Authority for Audiovisual Communication (French: HAICA) has sought to discharge as best as it could its mission as set out in decree-law n°116, board member Salah Sersi told TAP on Sunday.

The authority has fully exercised its regulatory functions by means of issuing warnings and calls for order to all media actors and pinpoint discourses or conduct that are infringing standards and professional ethics.

Nonetheless, the HAICA is facing a worrying fate as it is understaffed and unable to convene its board.

This state of affairs paved the way for a prosecutor’s office determined to take in hand “the repression” of journalists and claim to itself the authority to impose sanctions against “offenders” among audiovisual journalists, he added.

The regulator, Sersi said, had been targeted by a series of decisions which heavily impacted its decision-making competence, including the appointment of a secretary-general tasked with administrative
and financial management and the salary freeze for its board members.

He also said there has been neither an official decision of shutdown so far nor a decision to nominate a successor.

Former HAICA president Nouri Lajmi was notified in February 2023 in a correspondence signed by the secretary-general of the government of the decision under which he shall go into retirement starting January 2023.

The authority, Sersi added, endeavoured to comply with the spirit and the letter of the decree-law n°116 and used to refer cases beyond its remit to the public prosecutor’s office.

Today, much had changed since, he said. The judiciary claimed prerogatives initially granted to the HAICA.

Former member Omar Oueslati (judge) deplored the situation of the media regulator which, he said, represented a qualitative leap after the Revolution and endeavoured to restructure the media landscape.

Amid the absence of a regulatory body, he further said, the public prosecutor’s office claimed the prerogative to enforce laws o
f general application on the audiovisual content, citing in this connection Article 86 of the Telecommunications Code and the much-controversial Decree-law n°54.

The public prosecutor has become the only authority “mandated” to freely qualify offences which had taken its toll on the freedom of expression in total breach of Article 55 of the Constitution, Oueslati further said.

There is need for the media, he said, to comply with the standards of a “responsible” content that meets the expectations of the public.

A rich and diversified product is required to “breathe a fresh life” into the political, social and cultural life.

A revival of the HAICA is likewise called for so that it can play anew its audiovisual media regulatory role and stand up against misinformation- a threat to the media landscape and national security.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Bouderbala sends condolences message to his Iranian counterpart following death of President Ebrahim Raisi


_: Speaker of the Assembly of People’s Representatives, Brahim Bouderbala, sent a message of condolences to his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, in which he expressed deep sorrow over the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdullahian and members of the delegation accompanying them, who all died in a helicopter crash, on Sunday, in the province of East Azerbaijan, in the northwest of the country.

Bouderbala expressed, on his behalf and on behalf of all deputies, his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the Iranian people, reads a statement of the parliament on Monday.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

SNJT executive committee will decide on all actions to be taken to defend media sector in Tunisia


Tunis: The executive committee of the National Union of Tunisian Journalists (French: SNJT) was assigned to decide on all actions to be taken to defend the rights of media professionals in the sector.

The executive committee will stand firm against any attempts seeking to counter the achievements of the Tunisian Revolution, mainly freedom of expression, freedom of opinion and freedom of the press as well as the right to protest, the right to organise sit-ins and days of anger and the right to observe strikes in coordination with other professional structures.

In a statement released on Monday, the executive committee warned against “the serious threats media professionals are facing,” referring to “the disappearance of dozens of media outlets and the regression of freedoms in the country.”

Members of the executive committee denounced the arrest of a number of journalists and media professionals as well as the legal proceedings initiated against them for “unfounded reasons” contrary to the Tunisian Constitu
tion and international texts ratified by Tunisia.

On the other hand, they called on heads of several media outlets, including Hannibal TV, Elhiwar Ettounsi, Attessia, Radio IFM and the company Cactus Prod, to respect the professional and financial rights of journalists.

They criticised the policy adopted by public media officials which fundamentally undermines the principle of diversity and plurality by dismissing opposing opinions and censoring critical journalistic content. The SNJT called on journalists to respect, citizens’ rights to an unbiased and professional public service.

On another level, the Union criticised ‘the government and state institutions’ inertia’ in the face of the threats weighing on the sector, calling for an open dialogue with the parties concerned.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Tunisian civil protection takes part in mock forest fire drill with Algerian counterpart


Tunis: Two teams from the Tunisian Civil Protection took part on Monday in a joint mock drill with the Algerian Civil Protection to fight forest fires in the Algerian provinces of Souk Ahras and Tebessa, with 14 intervention means in the joint operation in Souk Ahras and seven others in the province of Tebessa.

This operation is part of the implementation of the results of the Tunisian-Algerian joint technical committee on civil protection held in Tabarka (Jendouba governorate) from January 21 to 25.

It aims to strengthen cooperation and the exchange of expertise between the two countries in the field of combating forest fires and natural disasters and to support joint efforts to improve the safety of citizens in Tunisia and Algeria, according to a statement issued by the spokesperson for civil protection.

This operation also confirms the commitment of the two countries to develop joint civil protection capacities and to activate the recommendations of the Joint Technical Committee through effective coordi
nation in the face of common environmental and humanitarian challenges.

The Governor of Tébessa, who was briefed about the progress of the mock drill in Tébessa and the measures taken to combat forest fires, praised Tunisia’s effective participation in this joint drill during a visit to the operation’s command centre on Monday, according to the same statement.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

President Kais Saied chairs working session on draft amendment of Article 96 of Penal Code [Upd 1]


Tunis: President Kais Saied ordered the inclusion of a new provision to criminalise those who deliberately refrain from carrying out a matter related to their job in order to obstruct the functioning of the public service, as he chaired a working session on the draft amendment of Article 96 of the Penal Code at Carthage Palace Monday.

‘Many people invoke Article 96 of the Penal Code to refrain from carrying out the duties entrusted to them,’ it was indicated in a Presidency statement.

The President explained that this draft amendment is part of the legislative reforms aimed at achieving a balance between the objectives of criminal policy in the fight against corruption on the one hand, and not hindering administrative work and its efficiency on the other.

Accountability is a ‘popular demand’ and laws ‘should be applied to hold people accountable and not to settle scores,’ the Head of State was also quoted as saying in the same statement.

At the beginning of the meeting, the President of the Republic spoke
about the original text of this article, its amendment in 1985 and the circumstances surrounding this amendment, before addressing the application of this article in several cases.

President Kais Saied raised the issue of Article 96 of the Penal Code during a meeting with the Prime Minister on December 13.

He had criticised the performance of the administration and public utilities, which he described as “strange and abnormal”, and the use of Article 96 by public officials, stressing that it would be reviewed as soon as possible.

He also held a working meeting with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Finance at Carthage Palace on December 19, during which he discussed two draft laws, one relating to the amendment of the Decree on Criminal Reconciliation and the other relating to Article 96 of the Penal Code. Both will be submitted to the Cabinet for discussion before being sent to the Assembly of People’s Representatives.

Article 96 of the current Penal Code provides for a ten-
year prison sentence and fines for public officials who use their position to violate regulations to benefit themselves or others.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee hears Interior Minister on worsening irregular migration


Tunis: The worsening phenomenon of irregular migration in Tunisia was the focus of a hearing with Interior Minister Kamel Feki held on Monday at the Bardo Palace by the Assembly of People’s Representatives (ARP) Committee on Foreign Relations, International Cooperation, Tunisians Abroad and Migration.

The Minister of Interior gave an overview of the security situation resulting from the growing wave of irregular migrants.

“The security solution alone will not succeed in eradicating this composite and complex phenomenon, but political, economic, social and diplomatic approaches are needed,” he stressed.

He also highlighted the need to coordinate with neighbouring countries in the region and Tunisia’s European partners to mitigate the impact of irregular migration on Tunisia, according to a statement issued by the Parliament.

In their speeches, MPs gave vivid accounts of the deterioration of the security, social and health situation in many regions as a result of the increase in the number of irregular migr
ants.

They pointed to the “mystery” surrounding this phenomenon, in terms of how they enter Tunisian territory and spread to many regions, and questioned the Ministry’s strategy for dealing with this phenomenon.

In response to the MPs’ questions, the Minister of the Interior explained that migration is a global phenomenon caused by geopolitical changes, in particular the deteriorating situation in a number of African countries.

He said that Tunisia has been able to achieve significant successes in curbing this phenomenon and combating its escalation, in coordination with neighbouring countries and the European Union.

Limiting the flow of irregular migrants is a common demand and can only be achieved through cooperation and joint coordination, Feki pointed out.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Tunisia’s Handball Cup 2023-2024: Esperance ST and C. Africain through to final


Tunis: Esperance Sportive de Tunis and Club Africain have qualified for the final of Tunsia’s handball Cup 2023-2024 after defeating at the semi-finals Sunday EBS Beni Khiar 27-23 in Tunis and EM Mahdia 30-28 in Mahdia, respectively.

Both clubs will also play the Elite handball Championship final.

Played Sunday, May 19

Zouaoui, Tunis:

Esperance de Tunis – EBS Beni Khiar 27-23

Mahdia:

EM Mahdia – Club Africain 28-30

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Tunisia’s soccer Cup 2023-2024 (Round of 16) – ful results


Tunis: Full results of Tunisia’s soccer Cup 2023-2024 Round of 16 games played over the week-end:

Played Sunday, May 19

Ben Arous:

SC Ben Arous – JS Omrane 2-2 (4-3 on penalty shoot-out)

Monastir:

US Monastir – AS Gabes 2-0

Sakiet Eddaier:

PS Sakiet Eddaier – CA Bizertin 1-2

Zouiten:

Olympique de Beja – ES Jerba 2-1

Played Saturday, May 18

Sfax (cité el Habib):

Al Ahly Sfaxi – Etoile du Sahel 0-1

Played Frday, May 17

Sfax (Mhiri):

OC Kerkennah – AS Marsa 0-2

Gafsa:

EGS Gafsa – S Tunisien 1-6

Korba:

CS Korba – Club Africain 1-2

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse