The death penalty has always sparked widespread controversy among human rights defenders, jurists, civil and popular society components, as well as religious institutions in various countries of the world, but this controversy has intensified greatly in Tunisia during the past few days, following a tragic incident in which a girl was assaulted, tortured and killed.
A few days ago, the Tunisian street was shaken by the case of the murder of the young woman, Rahma Al-Ahmar, who was in her twenty-ninth spring, as many demonstrations demanded retribution from the perpetrators of murder and rape.
Although the Tunisian Ministry of the Interior announced the arrest of the perpetrator on charges of “premeditated murder,” and his confession of committing the crime, Tunisian anger and protests continued in the streets and via cyberspace, demanding more severe penalties.
Against the background of this incident, in addition to the recent high crime rate in Tunisia, many demanded the re-application of the death penalty against all those found guilty of similar crimes.
The death penalty in Tunisia was suspended in 1991 under the rule of the late President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
In a meeting of Tunisian President Kais Said on Monday with the National Security Council, the president referred to the “necessity of firmly confronting” the crimes, adding: “The debate is long on this issue, but whoever kills a person unlawfully will be punished with death.”
Ashraf President of the Republic #Kais Saied On a meeting of the National Security Council during which he stressed the necessity of firmly addressing the high level of crime and applying the law to all criminals. He also touched on the high number of deaths and injuries from the pandemic # COVID19 He explained that if the infection rate did not decrease, an announcement could be made # Block_Golan. #TnPR pic.twitter.com/Yq5FtkWRMq
– Tunisian Presidency (@TnPresidency) September 28, 2020
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This led many to believe that Saeed could amend the Tunisian law on the death penalty, after it was suspended for 29 years.
“Justice” or “revenge”?
Tweeters and human rights groups criticized what was reported about the president, describing his speech as “populist”, and completely rejecting the idea of ”returning the death penalty” completely.
“I dare you if you can think of just thinking about carrying out one death sentence.”
Your words, Si Qais, are illogical in all cases, and they contain gossip that produced a populist discourse, and populism on major human rights issues to me so that you do not know where to reach ??
Unlike the death sentence, it is considered an outdated sentence devoted to the concept of revenge
– Khaldi Malek (@ KhaldiMalek3) September 29, 2020
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Others saw Saeed trying to “gain more popularity” by speaking about the death penalty, and some called for eliminating the causes of crime as a priority.
On the other hand, others supported the president’s speech, considering the tightening of the sanctions “not in brutality but in defense of the sanctity of life.”
For its part, Amnesty International rejected popular calls for the reinstatement of the death penalty, and listed a set of reasons, the most important of which is “the violation of the punishment of the most important human right, which is the right to life, in addition to its discrimination, because it is often applied to the most vulnerable groups in society.” Governments to silence their opponents. ”