Tunisia: Denouncing an “authoritarian and racist regime”, 270 academics speak out against the president

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fronde More than 270 academics, European, American or Tunisian, claim that Kais Saied be stripped of an honorary title awarded in 2021 by the Italian University of La Sapienza

Tunisia: Denouncing an “authoritarian and racist regime”, 270 academics rise up against the president

Tunisian President Kais Saied, July 24, 2023, in Rome. — Tunisian Presidency/SIPA

Europeans, Americans or Tunisians… More than 270 academics raise their voices against the “authoritarian and racist regime” of the Tunisian president. They claim with one voice to through a petition that Kais Saied be stripped of an honorary title bestowed upon him. in 2021 by the university Italian from La Sapienza.

In a letter addressed to the rector of this prestigious university; public of Rome, Antonella Polimeni, they accuse the Tunisian head of state “of committing serious abuses against migrants from sub-Saharan Africa who reside or transit through the country” They deplore the clashes between Tunisians and migrants which “cost life at; a Beninese in May and a Tunisian on July 3” to Sfax.

Divert attention from economic and social problems

Among the signatories, Mouna Balghouthi, Tunisian coordinator of the NGO Mobilizing for rights associates (MRA) and researcher in philosophy at; the university El Manar of Tunis, accuses the Tunisian head of state of wanting to “depict a new danger to divert attention from economic and social problems”. “The second objective is a clear and complete acquiescence to the demands and pressures of the Italian authorities to control the flow of immigrants,” AFP.

Sana Ben Achour, feminist activist and professor of public law, or the French mathematician Cédric Villani have also initialed the text.

Speech “racist and xenophobic”

On February 21, President Saied had denounced the arrival of “hordes of migrants” in his country during a speech punctuated by of “racist and xenophobic” remarks, according to these petitioners. They also condemn his constitutional reforms “intended to concentrate the power in his hands, undermine the institutional foundations essential for human rights, including at the undermine the independence of justice and the right to freedom d”expression.

A little over a month after the honorary ceremony held in his presence at La Sapienza, Kais Saied was granted; full powers on July 25, 2021 by dismissing his then Prime Minister and freezing Parliament. Since this coup, he has ruled the country by decree. The Constitution, which he had modified by referendum at the summer of 2022 has greatly reduced the powers of Parliament in favor of an ultra-presidentialist system. In addition, since February, around twenty opponents and personalities have been imprisoned.