’All This for a Joint': Tunisia’s Repressive Drug Law

Photo © 2016 Private

Adopted in 1992, “Law 52” imposes a minimum mandatory sentence of a year in prison for anyone who uses or possesses even a small quantity of an illegal drug, including cannabis.

As of December 15, 2015, 7,451 people convicted of drug related offenses were in Tunisia’s prisons. The people interviewed in a new report described beatings and insults during arrest and interrogation, mistreatment during urine tests, and searches of homes without judicial warrants.

S.T., 28, said that after spending five months in prison in 2014 for using cannabis before being pardoned, he felt “broken.” “When I got out, people would look at me as a criminal,” he said. “Someone who spent time in prison is always a criminal.”

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