A Human Rights group has highlighted the case of a further suspicious death in Tunisia’s prison system.
According to the Observatory of Rights and Freedoms in Tunisia, 23 year old Hamed Sassi was reported dead in the Tunisian prison at Mornag on August 20th, with images of his body showing what the human rights group claim were clear signs of torture. Sassi had been held in Mornag since November of last year.
Sassi’s Mother is reported to have told the group that, not only were the family prevented from visiting Sassi while he was in prison, but that they were not informed of either him falling sick or having been treated in hospital prior to his death.
According to a report in the Al Huffington Post, a copy of Sassi’s medical report (which was limited to the medical checks he received in the period between August 5th and his death) was sent to the Public Prosecutor for examination, who may also choose to interview the medical personnel at the prison. “The victim had been on medication since being transferred to the prison on December 4th, 2015” The General Director of Corrections and Rehabilitation was quoted as saying, where he, “had been treated by medics on ten occasions for common illnesses. He was also given access to the public hospital where it was required.”
An Amnesty International report from January 2016 points to an increasing number of suspicious deaths in custody. According to the group, there have been at least six deaths in custody since 2011 in circumstances that have either not been effectively investigated or where investigations have not resulted in criminal prosecution
Similarly, according to the General Director, the prison had not prevented anyone with the correct legal documents from visiting the victim and had not received a request to meet with the administration of the prison since July 20th, the date of Sassi’s mother and sister’s final visit.
Zaineb is a journalist in the Tunisia Live newsroom. She speaks Arabic, French and English.