On 28 August, Marietje Schaake submitted a written question to High Representative Catherine Ashton concerning the case of the arrest of Héla Boujneh in Tunisia. Please find a plain text version and the official document below.
In the night of 24th and 25th of August, prominent Tunisian human rights activist Héla Boujneh was arrested by the police in the town of Sousa. She was arrested on claims of ‘rebellion and attempted terrorism’ while she went to a police station to speak to her brother, who had been taken into custody for ‘driving without documents’. During the arrest and subsequent time in jail she was subjected to intimidation and abuse and denied access to her lawyer. Ms Boujneh had recently launched a campaign against sexual intimidation by the police. She is scheduled to appear in court on 2 September.
Is the VP/HR aware of this case, and how does she assess it? Does the VP/HR see any grounds for the arrest?
Does the VP/HR agree that Ms Boujneh should receive access to a lawyer and fair trial and that any form of mistreatment or abuse by the Tunisian police either in prison or outside it is unacceptable and must be duly and independently investigated so that those guilty can be held accountable?
What action has the EEAS and/or the VP/HR undertaken in relation to this case and what is the EEAS and/or the VP/HR planning to do in the future, especially to make sure that Ms Boujneh receives access to a lawyer and fair trial?