TUNISIA TO MAINTAIN CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IN FUTURE CONSTITUTION
January 6, 2014: The National Constituent Assembly (NCA) voted for maintaining capital punishment in the upcoming constitution in Tunisia. The votes were by 135 yes against a total of 174. The NCA is voting on the draft constitution article by article separately. The deputies will participate in a general vote where two thirds majority will be needed in order to enact Tunisia’s second constitution as after its independence from France, 1956.
The article 27 says that “The right for life is sacred and cannot be violated, except in extreme cases regulated by the law,”
Deputy Nadia Chaabbene from Almasar party called out for the cancellation of capital punishment. Chaabane said that death penalty was used in the Bourguiba era to exterminate individuals for their political convictions. Tunisia’s 1959 constitution allows the judiciary body to use capital punishment as a sentence. Statistically-speaking, 137 was executed between 1956 and 1987, 129 of them for political reasons.
Death penalty was last used in 1991. In the same year, a man was sentenced to death penalty for charges of raping 14 children. It has been argued that the Tunisian judiciary body has commuted the use of capital punishment using long imprisonment sentences in lieu of the death penalty. According to estimates made by Human Rights Watch, there were around 40 prisoners sentenced to death in Tunisia as of February 2011. The estimations are based on an interview with an official from the Ministry of Justice. (Sources: thetunistimes.com, 06/01/2014)