Human Rights Watch

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Tunisia: Lax Enforcement of Right to Lawyer

2 Years On, Lackluster Implementation Undermines Landmark Law

Friday 01 June 2018

(Tunis, June 1, 2018) - Lax enforcement of a new law in Tunisia granting detainees prompt access to a lawyer has weakened the impact of this landmark legislation, Human Rights Watch said today, even if detainee rights have improved modestly since the law took effect two years ago today.

The 68-page report “You say you want a lawyer? Tunisia’s New Law on Detention, on Paper and in Practice,” examines the actual impact of the law granting detainees the right to a lawyer as soon as they are taken into custody. Every year, the police arrest thousands of people across Tunisia. They spend up to four days in police custody, a crucial period for building the criminal case against them, before they first see a judge. During this time, they are vulnerable to mistreatment.

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