Eight years on: Families of martyrs and wounded of Revolution demand release of final list, criticise government
10/01/2019 16:54, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) - "The government ignores us. It has turned its back to our martyrs and wounded.

"Behind these words uttered by families of the martyrs and the wounded of the Revolution, a past that does not pass and ills attributed to the Tunisian government for its handling of this sensitive issue.

These families have tirelessly demanded the publication of the final list of martyrs and wounded of the Revolution in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Tunisia (JORT), pointing to the lack of political will and the ongoing silence of the government.

The commemoration of the 8th anniversary of the uprising of the Tunisian people allows the families of the victims to hope, with the desire intact to create a breach in a wall of silence.

In fact, faced with the unfulfilled commitments and the procrastination of the government on the issue of the martyrs and the wounded of the revolution, families of the victims chose to take to street to make their voices heard and put all their energy into it.

Expectations were all the greater as in March 2018 the Committee for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (French: CSDHLF) submitted its report and the final list of martyrs and wounded of the revolution to the Presidency of the Republic, the presidency of Parliament and the Prime Ministry.

But since then and failing to get that through, the families of the victims have entered into repeated protests and sit-ins.

"The families carried out several actions for the publication of the final list of martyrs and wounded of the revolution, but the lack of political will and the denial of the revolution by the politicians and the prevarication of the ruling authorities have compromised the publication of that list," regretted Samia Mhimdi, sister of martyr Hichem Mhimdi.

This list is a playing card to exert political pressure and its non-publication has allowed some to exploit the file of the martyrs and wounded of the Revolution for their own interests, she said.

The CSDHLF is bound by the law to publish this list but fears have paralysed it and in doing so it missed the opportunity to go down in history.”

For the defence lawyer of martyrs and wounded of the revolution, Leila Haddad, the responsibility of the politicians in this issue is unquestionable: "publishing the final list means recognising the Revolution and rehabilitating its heroes; however, the political leaders in power, who for most of them belonged to the ousted regime, do not want to give this gratitude to the revolutionaries ".

The Civil Party lawyer also questioned the attitude of the President of the Republic, who, she recalls, refused to push for the right to publish that list, while he had used all his influence to ensure the adoption of the law on national reconciliation for the benefit of bigwigs of the past regime.

CSDHLF President Taoufik Bouderbala said the Prime Ministry is the only party legally entitled to publish the list in the Official Gazette. However, it simply did not apply the law.

The Committee is unable to unilaterally publish the list of martyrs and wounded of the revolution after the completion of the process, starting with the preparation of the list and its delivery to the Presidency of the Republic, the presidency of Parliament and the Prime Ministry, until the correspondence to the Official Printing Office on the publication of the list.

The publication by the Committee of this document can not give it any official character, especially as it will not guarantee the right of appeal to the courts.

In the absence of the prerogatives needed to find a successful outcome to this process, the Committee, through its chairperson, calls upon those who believe that the committee has not given them redress to appeal to the Administrative Tribunal, with a view to preparing a "complementary list" including them.

On the other hand, some parties that have closely monitored the issue have justified the delay accumulated for years by "the sensitivity of the question relating to the attribution of the status of martyr to the dead in the revolution".

Indeed, those parties emphasised "the fears of attributing the honour of martyrdom to those who seized the opportunity of the popular uprising against the past regime to attack public and private property.”

In the families of the martyrs and wounded of the Revolution and their lawyers, pessimism has set in.

"The commemoration of the 8th anniversary of the revolution will not bring anything new.

The list will not be published and will remain dependent on the goodwill of the three presidencies, while there is no excuse, eight years later, justifying the headlong rush forward of all parties on this issue,” said Me. Leila Haddad.

This alarmist observation comes after several protest movements led by the families.

One of the highlights of their actions was that of December 17, 2018 which saw representatives of the martyrs and wounded of the revolution launch the campaign "release the official list" to pay tribute to those who broke the chains of the injustice and tyranny and safeguard the national memory.

On the side of the House of People's Representatives, the issue of the list is even more ambiguous.

According to Yamina Zoghlemi, vice-president of the Committee on the Martyrs and Wounded of the Revolution and Transitional Justice, the publication of the list is not only the responsibility of the Prime Minister but also hinges on the existence of guarantees and a stable political climate.

"The list is ready, but its publication requires the joint efforts of all parties, organisations and unions to push the government to take the step, far from overbidding."

Eight years after the eruption of the Revolution, the list of those who fell martyrs for Tunisia, is struggling to see the light of day.

By dragging on, the fight of the families of martyrs and wounded of the Revolution in Tunisia for their cause is reminiscent of the struggle of the “Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo" in Argentina.

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