22 March 2022
On Monday 21 March 2022, the lawyer and former president of the Tunisian Bar, Abderrazak Kilani, was released while waiting for his trial.
Mr. Kilani had been detained since the beginning of March after being charged for disturbing public order while defending his client’s interests, a situation that the Observatory denounced in its alert of 3 March 2022.
The Observatory expresses its deep concern about the investigation, which is being conducted by the military court and not by the ordinary court. Mr Kilani is being prosecuted for acts related to the legitimate exercise of his functions as a lawyer and his freedom of expression.
For the moment, no date has been announced for the hearing of the trial against the tunisian lawyer, however the Observatory will continue to monitor his situation, which directly threatens the independance and free practice of his profession.
Tunisia: Hearing and imprisonment of former President of the Bar Abderrazak Kilani for protesting and defending his client
3 March 2022
A committal order was issued on the evening of Wednesday 2 March 2022 by the investigating judge at the Military Court of First Instance in Tunis against the former President of the Bar, Abderrazak Kilani.
Abderrazak Kilani is accused of belonging to an assembly likely to “disturb public order” and whose purpose is to “commit an offence or to oppose the execution of a law”, “insulting a public official by words and threats in the exercise of his duties”, as well as “attempting to provoke, by means of disturbances and fraudulent manoeuvres, an individual or collective cessation of work and inciting the security forces to rebellion”.
Abderrazak Kilani asserted that he had never incited the security forces to rebellion and that the verbal exchange he had with the security agents in front of the Habib Bougatfa hospital in Bizerte, where his client was, was purely legal and civil. Following the hearing, former President Kilani was imprisoned.
The Observatory is outraged by this arrest and the interference of former President Kilani in the legitimate exercise of his profession.
The Observatory wishes to recall the basic principles relating to the role of the Bar, which state that
Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; (b) are able to travel and to consult with their clients freely both within their own country and abroad; and (c) shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics. (Principle 16)
Lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of discharging their functions. (Principle 18)
Lawyers shall enjoy civil and penal immunity for relevant statements made in good faith in written or oral pleadings or in their professional appearances before a court, tribunal or other legal or administrative authority. (Principle 20)
Tunisia: criminal investigation against the lawyer and former president of the Tunisian Bar Association Abderrazak Kilani, the Observatory expresses its concern.
February 1, 2021
The International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger (IOLD) expresses its concern about the criminal investigation underway in Tunisia against lawyer Abderrazak Kilani, former President of the National Bar Association of Tunisia during the transition to democracy between 2010 and 2011, then Minister for Relations with the Constituent Assembly and Ambassador of Tunisia to the United Nations.
President Kilani, known for his commitment to human rights, freedom of expression and democracy, will have to appear before the military court of his country for acts related to the legitimate exercise of his functions as a lawyer.
The Observatory expresses its solidarity with President Kilani. The National Bar Association of Tunisia (ONAT) has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2015, as a member of the “Quartet of Tunisian National Dialogue”, for its decisive contribution to the construction of a pluralist democracy in Tunisia.
The Observatory calls on the Tunisian authorities to respect the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention, held in Havana from 27 August to 7 September 1990, in particular principles 16,17,18 and 23:
“Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all their professional functions without hindrance, intimidation, harassment or undue interference;” (Principle 16)
“Where the safety of lawyers is threatened in the performance of their duties, they shall be adequately protected by the authorities.” (Principle 17)
“Lawyers shall not be equated with their clients or their clients’ cause as a result of the performance of their duties.” (Principle 18)
“Lawyers, like all other citizens, should enjoy freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly. In particular, they shall have the right to engage in public discussion of the law, the administration of justice, and the promotion and protection of human rights, and to join or form local, national or international organizations and to attend their meetings without professional restrictions because of their lawful acts or membership in a lawful organization. In exercising these rights, lawyers shall conduct themselves in accordance with the law and recognized standards and ethics of the legal profession. (Principle 23)