Human Rights Watch says gagged by Tunisian police

New York-based Human Rights Watch accused Tunisian authorities on Wednesday of using police to prevent journalists attending the launch of a report critical of the government’s rights record. A Human Rights Watch (HRW) employee said police had surrounded the lawyer’s office where the group was trying to brief reporters about its new report, which accuses Tunisia of adopting repressive measures toward former prisoners. A Tunisian official source told Reuters the authorities had cooperated with the rights group which he said was acting in a provocative way that showed a lack of respect for Tunisian laws. Human Rights Watch said a hotel room that was originally booked to hold the news conference was flooded soon after HRW staff checked in and the hotel said it had no other rooms. The Tunisian official, who did not want to be identified, rejected the group’s allegations. The Tunisian official told Reuters the report contains lies and fabrications which were designed to mislead the public about the human rights situation in Tunisia. He said former prisoners were treated in accordance with the law.

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE62N4MS20100324

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