June 26, 2019
On 27 June 2019, lawyer and woman human rights defender Najet Laabidi is due to appear before the military court of first instance of Tunis for the final hearing of her case. She is charged with “attributing to a public official (…) illegal acts related to his job without proof” under Article 128 of the Tunisian Penal Code.
The charge was filed by Judge Leila Hammami, the president of the military court of first instance of Tunis, who claimed that Najet Laabidi had made declarations that defamed her without proof.
On 11 May 2017, the 8th Misdemeanour Chamber of the Tunis Court of First Instance found human rights lawyer, Najet Laabidi, guilty of “attributing to a public official (…) illegal acts related to his job without proof” and sentenced her to six months imprisonment under Article 128 of the Tunisian Penal Code. The verdict came after over one hundred lawyers pleaded in favour of Najet Laabidi on 10 May 2017. She intends to appeal the Court’s decision.
Najet Laabidi is a human rights lawyer and former member of the executive bureau of Tunisian human rights group, Liberté Equité. She is the legal representative of victims of reported torture in what is known as the “Barraket Essahel” case. The Barraket Essahel case goes back to 1991, when authorities said they had uncovered a plan orchestrated by officers to topple President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and establish an Islamist regime. Between May and July 1991, 244 army officers were arrested, many of whom were reportedly tortured by state security agents in the Tunis headquarters of the Interior Ministry.