• Urgent Action


March 22, 2024

Opposition politicians Jaouhar Ben Mbarek, Khayyam Turki, Issam Chebbi, Ghazi Chaouachi, Ridha Belhaj, and Abdelhamid Jelassi have been arbitrarily detained since February 2023 on unfounded “conspiracy against state security” accusations. In January 2024, a judge rejected the latest appeals against the prolonged pre-trial detention of the six detainees submitted by the Committee for the Defense of Political Detainees. Tunisia’s anti-terrorism court is investigating all of them for trying to “change the nature of the state” under Article 72 of the Penal Code which carries the death penalty. We call on the Tunisian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release them and drop the charges against them as the charges stem from the peaceful exercise of their human rights. 

take action:

  • Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
  • Click here to let us know the actions you took on Third Urgent Action 52.23. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.

contact information:

President of the Republic Kais Saied

Route de la Goulette,

Site archéologique de Carthage, Tunisie

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @TnPresidency

Tunisian Ambassador to the United States

Her Excellency Mrs. Hanene Tajouri Bessassi

1515 Massachusetts Avenue,

NW, Washington DC 20005

Email: [email protected]

sample letter:

Your Excellency, 

I am gravely concerned over the prolonged arbitrary detention of opposition figures, Jaouhar Ben Mbarek, Khayyam Turki, Issam Chebbi, Ghazi Chaouachi, Ridha Belhaj, and Abdelhamid Jelassi on unfounded “conspiracy” accusations. Over a year after their arrests, authorities have failed to release them from arbitrary detention.

Since their arrest in February 2023, none of the detainees have been questioned in relation to acts that would amount to recognizable crimes under international law, so the charges against them are unfounded. They were questioned about their relationship with each other and with foreign diplomats, on meetings they undertook together, and on their messages about the political situation in Tunisia.

Political activists Chaima Issa and Lazhar Akremi, released in July 2023, who spent months arbitrarily detained in the same case were banned from travelling and “appearing in public spaces”.

I therefore urge you to immediately release Jaouhar Ben Mbarek, Khayyam Turki, Issam Chebbi, Ghazi Chaouachi, Ridha Belhaj, and Abdelhamid Jelassi from arbitrary detention. I also urge you to ensure that the restrictions against Chaima Issa and Lazhar Akremi are immediately lifted, and all the charges against them dropped, as the charges stem solely from the peaceful exercise of their human rights. Pending the release of the detained individuals, ensure that they have access to adequate healthcare. Moreover, I call on you to cease your targeted arrests of critics for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

Yours sincerely,