The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OHCHR) has urged Tunisia authorities to immediately release or properly charge former justice minister Noureddine Bhiri and another man detained under suspected terrorism offences.
“We urge the authorities to either promptly release or properly charge these two men in accordance with due process standards for criminal proceedings,” Liz Throssell, an OHCHR spokeswoman, said on Tuesday in Geneva.
Mr Bhiri, a parliamentarian with the Ennahdha party, was taken outside his home on December 31, 2021, by men in civilian clothes. No explanation was given, or a warrant for his arrest was provided.
According to media reports, the moderate Islamist Ennahdha movement has the largest number of seats in Tunisia’s parliament.
Mr Bhiri, 63, was shuttled to different undisclosed places of detention for several hours and later put under house arrest. Due to pre-existing health conditions, he was transferred to hospital on January 2, 2022, where he remains.
Although officials have indicated that he is suspected of terrorism-related offences, OHCHR said his lawyers had not been formally informed of any charges against him.
A second unidentified man was also taken away and detained on the same day as Mr Bhiri, and under similar circumstances. His location was not known until January 4.
The developments have deepened the UN Office’s “already serious concerns” about Tunisia’s deteriorating human rights situation.
Although the men’s families and OHCHR staff in the country have been able to visit them, Ms Throssell said the two incidents “echo practices not seen since the Ben Ali era and raise serious questions regarding abduction, enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention.”
President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who ruled Tunisia for more than 20 years, was ousted in January 2011 in protests that sparked the Arab spring.
Incumbent President Kais Saied suspended parliament in July 2021 and assumed all executive functions in a move opponents branded as a coup.
Following the violent dispersal of demonstrators on September 1, Mr Saied called for forces to change their practices and act in accordance with the law.
While “a positive step,” the UN said public commitment to international human rights obligations had yet to translate into practice.
OHCHR was also concerned about the stifling of dissent in Tunisia, including through improper use of counter-terrorism legislation and increasing use of military courts to try civilians.
Although the President has repeatedly vowed to reform the judiciary, actions must align with Tunisia’s international human rights obligations.
Buhari’s dictator background saved Nigeria from collapse: Gov. Ayade
Cross River Governor Ben Ayade says President Muhammadu Buhari’s military background saved the country from collapse, but Nigerians don’t know.
“Perhaps, if it was not Buhari’s administration with his military background, the country would have collapsed at this stage,” Mr Ayade said, though Nigeria insecurity has worsened since Mr Buhari assumed power in 2015.
Mr Ayade, who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to APC last year, further claimed that Nigerians were ignorant of the danger Mr Buhari had saved Nigeria.
“People don’t know that because if you have been able to avoid risk, Mr Ayade explained, “nobody can see it because it was avoided. I think the situation could have been worse.”
Boko Haram and bandits have continued to kill and kidnap for ransom, while agitations for secession continue to threaten Nigeria’s unity.
Last week, bandits killed over 200 Nigerians in communities in Zamfara.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello disclosed that over 200 citizens had been killed and more than 200 abducted in 17 in Niger.
EFCC detains Fashola money man Supo Shasore
A former attorney general and commissioner for justice in Lagos Olasupo Shasore is being grilled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) operatives.
A source close to the commission disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday.
The source added that the ex-commissioner arrived at the headquarters of the EFCC on Tuesday afternoon.
According to the source, Mr Shasore is being quizzed over his role in the Process and Industrial Development scam.
Wilson Uwujaren, the spokesperson for EFCC, declined to comment on the development when contacted.
Lagos govt seals nightclubs over lack of fire extinguishers, poor hygiene
The Lagos State Safety Commission says it sealed lounges and nightclubs in Ikeja over the lack of compliance with its 2022 Zero Accident Campaign (ZAC).
The commission’s director-general, Lanre Mojola, stated in a statement on Tuesday that ZAC was determined to ensure that all workplaces and public facilities are safe for all visitors and workers alike.
The commission stated that the lack of fire extinguishers, poor hygiene and housekeeping, lack of safety signages, inadequate parking spaces, and other safety infractions led to the shutting down of the outfits.
Mr Mojola further that the action on some bars, lounges and nightclubs became necessary due to their contravention of the Lagos government regulations despite several efforts to ensure compliance.
The Lagos official slammed the failure of the outfits to obtain safety compliance certificates and register with the commission through its www.lasgsafetyreg.com portal.
Mr Mojola further reiterated that similar enforcement exercises would take place across.
He also mentioned that the commission would not relent in its efforts, especially when implementing the commission’s laws towards a safer Lagos for all.
The director-general implored all business entities to regularise their safety management documentation towards achieving safer public places across Lagos.
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