Will Torture Come to End in Tunisia?

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Barakat and Rasheed Shammakhi who died under torture

Will Torture Come to End in Tunisia

Thursday, December 15th, 2016
CSID Headquarters


Within the framework of supporting the process of Transitional Justice, the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy organized a lecture followed by an open discussion entitled the issue of the two martyrs; Faisal Barakat and Rasheed Shammakhi who died under Torture: will torture come to end in Tunisia? The lecture was held on Thursday, December 15, 2016 at CSID headquarters in Tunis, and delivered by Professor Khalid M’barek.

02During the opening speech, Dr. Radwan Masmoudi stressed that reconciliation will not be achieved unless the truth about the events which took place during the era of tyranny is recognized, rehabilitation for victims of torture and their families is assured, and executionners ask Tunisian people for forgiveness. Afterwards, Dr Masmoudi introduced the case of both martyrs Faisal Barakat and Rachid Chammakhi as an outward sample of the torture used against innocent people during the pre-revolution era.

Mr. Khaled Mbarek stressed that the issue of both martyrs Faisal Barakat and Rasheed Shammakhi became an international case as a result of exposing it at the international level, making it alive to date. He added that it covers all aspects of an organized crime (martyr / executioner / family of the martyr / witness / opinions of experts and doctors). Mr. Khaled Mbarek also talked about the bones of contentions between lawyers, who were and are still looking for the truth on the death of both martyrs.


Concerning the case of the martyr Rashid Shammakhi, after releasing the body to his family for burial ,Tunisian authorities confirmed that his death was a result of hepatitis and acute liver failure, which was rejected by the family. Mr M’barek added that Dr. Sadek Sassi denied all charges of falsifying reports and claimed that the judge checked the medical report in the archives of the Presidency of the Republic, which was unclear and showed that- from a scientific perspective- Rasheed Shammakhi died as a result of torture by burning and certainly not as a result of liver failure
According to Mr M’barek, in the case of the martyr Faisal Barakat, who died as a result of that torture, the security forces tried to get rid of the body and put it on the public highway to cover-up the killing and make it look like an accident. His family wanted to follow the same procedure as the family of the martyr Al Shammakhi.

During his intervention, Mr. Khaled Mbarek wondered if the state institution were able to hide and manipulate skilfully these two clear cases during the era of Ben Ali, is there still a hope to see the end of torture in Tunisia

Since the outbreak of the Tunisian Revolution, the families of both martyrs accused doctors of falsifying medical reports until today, which represents a threat that would negatively affect the procedures related to their cases and bring them back to the first phases of investigation, 25 years after after the deaths

04During the debate session, Mr. Zouhair Makhlouf stressed that there is no room for defending the doctors in charge of these cases, as they falsified the cases of both martyrs. The Lawyer of Al Shammakhi family.




Mr Nabil Labessi, said that the case is still proceeding on international level despite the several obstacles. Mr Labassi also claimed that first Dr. Sadik Sassi denied the charges against him, but, after confronting Dr. Sweilem,dmitted guilty and get arrested.



Mr. Jamal Barakat the brother of the martyr Faisal Barakat, has insisted that his brother’s death was due to the use of a solid object causing a serious low blood pressure and resulting into the death of the victim, a fact that was confirmed by Dr. Sadek Sassi in the court after the revolution

Mr Baraket concluded his intervention by questioning the importance of knowing who is guilty after all this time because the outcomes are the same. Another comment was delivered by an eyewitness, Toumi Al Hamrouni, who was present in the incidents of torture against both martyrs, who added that the disagreements between the defenders of truth shouldn’t take place no matter how they differ in their views.


During the debate with the audience, Mr. Khaled Mbarek stressed that the doctor’s certificates are important in order not to turn the case of torture to extreme violence case that lead to murder. Concluding the lecture Dr. Radwan Masmoudi, said that what is most important today for Tunisians is to accelerate the process of transitional justice in order to guarantee making the executioners accountable and to provide compensation for the victims.