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In Tunisia, concern about the state of health of an opponent on hunger strike


A leader of the Islamist-inspired movement Ennahda, Sahbi Atig, appeared on Friday, June 9, before the investigating judge of the court of first instance of Ariana, in the suburbs of Tunis, in a state of health very weakened by a hunger strike that began nearly a month ago. “He can no longer walk and he is barely conscious, he had to be supported by three officers to be able to move to court”specified to World his lawyer, Samir Dilou. His hearing could not take place.

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Arrested on May 6, the former Islamist deputy is accused of “corruption” and “money laundering” by a young man with a criminal record and imprisoned in another case. Sahbi Atig decided to resort to a hunger strike, which cost him two hospitalizations, in order to protest against “a fabricated case based on false statements”, according to his wife, Zeineb Mraïhi. Present in court when security officers transported Sahbi Atig, she describes a man “very thin, dizzy, without any strength and which looked like a wreck”.

Before a judge “unmoved”the defendant’s lawyers tried to convince him of the urgency of the situation and warned against the potentially fatal consequences of such a prolonged hunger strike on their client’s state of health. “We will bear the responsibility [de qui lui arrivera] to the investigating judge, he is in mortal danger, castigates Samir Dilou. If we do not necessarily die of a hunger strike, beyond a fortnight, we keep the consequences for life. »

“A real scandal”

According to his relatives, the reason why Sahbi Atig is the only political prisoner to observe a hunger strike is linked to the nature of the case. “He would have preferred to be accused of ‘conspiracy’ like other opponents, emphasizes his wife. But here he is accused of stealing money when no link has been established between him and the case in which he is being prosecuted. It is his honor that has been sullied, in addition to a terrible feeling of injustice. »

The case dates back to 2016 when a teenager was arrested after stealing a large sum of money from a house in a neighborhood near Sahbi Atig’s home. Released and then arrested again in 2023 in another case, the young man recently gave new testimony according to which the robbed home was, in fact, that of the former deputy. The latter would then have visited him in the detention center for minors in order to ask him not to reveal anything. “The judge did not verify any of these allegations despite our repeated requests. This case is a real scandal.”denounces Samir Dilou.

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