Parliament: freedoms, police handling of protests at heart of Lotfi Brahem's hearing | Tunisia News Gazette

Parliament: freedoms, police handling of protests at heart of Lotfi Brahem’s hearing

The issue of freedoms and police handling of protests were at heart of Interior Minister Lotfi Brahem’s hearing by the Parliamentary Security and Defence Committee on Monday.

Talking about recent reports about a police campaign against Tunisian and foreign journalists, Lotfi Brahem said the Interior Ministry is always open to dialogue with human rights organizations as well as with the National Union of Tunisian Journalists.

“The ministry has had monthly meetings with the SNJT and representatives of the various media to develop a better strategy of police handling allowing both the law enforcers and journalists to do their job properly,” he pointed out.

On issues relating to individual freedoms, some MPs proposed the review or even the amendment of the travel ban procedure, which, according to the Minister of the Interior, had affected more than 29,000 people in 2017.

This procedure imposes a travel ban on all people who may join conflict zones.

Brahem said the ministry has set up a committee to study the cases of people banned from traveling and to make the necessary amendments to the laws and procedures considered unconstitutional after the adoption of the Constitution.

Regarding the use of force to disperse protests, Brahem did not deny the use of force by security officers in some protests. “However, he said, the use of force has always been within the law.”

Referring to the issue of hunting rifle licences, Brahem said a committee has been formed within the Ministry to examine, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, the requests for permits, noting that more than 43,000 applications have been filed with the Ministry.

Brahem said permits are granted according to well-defined criteria.

Initially invited by the Security and Defence Committee for a hearing on three main axes: the general security situation in the country, biometric identity documents file and hunting rifle licences, Brahem gave an overview of the security activity in 2017.

“More than 180 terrorist cells, 40 networks of sending terrorists to conflict zones, 6 armed terrorist networks and more than 120 terrorist recruiting cells have been broken up, he pointed out.

Source: TAP News Agency

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