Tunisia. The emergency permit introduced in November 2015
was extended several times during the year and was in effect
even at the end of 2017. In combination with the terrorist
legislation passed in autumn 2015, the emergency permit had
contributed to the country's security forces using
increasingly brutal methods. That's what the civil rights
organization Amnesty International wrote in a report
released in February. According to
Countryaah.com, torture of
suspects and harassment by their relatives was common.
According to Amnesty, the security service could commit
abuse without the risk of reprisals was a threat to the
young democracy. In November, the first violent act of two
years occurred in the capital Tunis, described as jihadist
motivated. One man stabbed a policeman to death and injured
another when he attacked a roadblock near the parliament
In May, the election commission's chief, Chafik Sarsar,
resigned because he did not consider himself able to work
"independently and impartially". The month before, the
decision came that the planned municipal elections would not
be held until December. Sarsar had previously stressed the
importance of holding these elections so as not to threaten
the transition to democracy. In October, elections were
postponed again, now until March 25, 2018. In October,
elections were postponed until March 25, 2018 and in
December another time until May 6, the same year.
In September, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed undertook a
comprehensive reform of government and appointed a "war
government" with the task of combating "terrorism,
corruption, unemployment and regional inequality". Of the 13
new ministers, two were formerly working for President Zayn
al-Abidin Ben Ali. A week later, about 1,000 people
protested against a new law that granted amnesty to
thousands of officials accused of corruption during Ben
Ali's time in power. According to the government, the law
was needed for economic growth in the country to accelerate.
In June, a man was sentenced to one month in prison for
smoking in public during the fasting month of Ramadan. This
is despite the fact that it is not against the law to eat,
drink or smoke during this month. The day before, people had
demonstrated in Tunis for the right to eat and drink in
public during Ramadan.
A new law banning all physical, moral and sexual violence
against women was passed in July. A man should no longer be
able to avoid being punished for rape if he marries his
victim, and women who are subjected to domestic violence
should be able to obtain legal and psychological support.
The law is expected to come into effect in 2018. In
September, the ban on women being married to non-Muslim men
was lifted. A man of different religion had previously had
to convert to Islam in order to marry a Tunisian woman.
Tunisia was included as one of 17 countries and
territories on the EU's first black list of tax havens,
published in December.