EU should not unfreeze assets of Marouane Mabrouk (Transparency International) [Upd 1]
04/01/2019 19:08, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) - The EU should not unfreeze the assets of a Tunisian businessman and son-in-law of former Tunisian president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, Transparency International (TI) said Friday.

Following a request from the Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed Marouen Mabrouk will potentially be removed from the EU’s list of 48 people sanctioned for misappropriating Tunisian state assets in 2011, following the Tunisian revolution. The Mashreq/Maghreb Working Party (MAMA), responsible for the EU foreign policy and security issues in the MENA region, has already approved the foreign ministry’s request, Transparency International said.

Mabrouk is under investigation in Tunisia for corruption. On November 15, 2018, the EU General Court upheld Mabrouk’s inclusion in the Tunisia sanctions lists for 2017 and 2018, as it had previously for 2015 and 2016.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed’s request will be considered by EU diplomats participating in the Working Party of Foreign Relations Counsellers (RELEX) in early January 2019 and will be confirmed by EU Foreign Affairs Ministers later that month.

"EU governments should reject the request until such time as the corruption allegations are resolved," said Carl Dolan, Director of Transparency International EU.

"On International Human Rights Day earlier this month, EU Foreign Ministers affirmed the importance of the EU sanctions regime for defending human rights, and are looking into targeting the assets of human rights abusers and ending their right to travel to and within the EU. Granting this selective and suspect request from the Tunisian government would send entirely the wrong message to corrupt governments and their acolytes, " said Transparency International.

The steps made by Chahed to unfreeze exclusively the assets of Marouen Mabrouk were unveiled by I watch on December 13, 2018.

I watch, chapter of TI in Tunisia, Friday said in a press release the international NGO "condemns Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed's persistence in requesting an end to the freeze on Mabrouk's assets in EU countries."

I watch also spoke about " the absolute silence of the Tunisian government."

TAP sought a comment from the Prime Ministry but was redirected to the Ministry of State Property and Land Affairs which was not available for comment.

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