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Neglected to death..

Abdesslam, 30 years old, Sfax

Abdesslam was arrested after curfew on the night of February 28, 2021. Being diabetic, his health deteriorated rapidly while in police custody. On March 2, he was remanded in Thyna prison. The next day, his condition was such that he had to be transferred to the hospital. He died on the way, because of repeated neglect. Abdesslam's case is one of 16 cases of suspicious deaths in detention documented by SANAD since 2014. Victims died in circumstances still unresolved during detention or as a result of contact with security forces.

During the night of February 28, 2021, Abdesslam was returning from a family reunion with his brother and cousin when they were stopped by traffic police because they had exceeded the curfew hour. An argument started between Abdesslam’s brother and the officers and the three men were arrested and transferred to the police station of Sfax Nord.

Both brothers were taken into custody for offending a public official, being drunk and violating the curfew. Two hours later, they were transferred to the Medina police station where they spent the night. Abdesslam's brother told the officers that his brother was diabetic and needed insulin, but the officers did not react. The parents of both men came to the station with insulin but the officers refused to accept it.

As Abdesslam's health deteriorated, the officers took him to the hospital on the evening of March 1. According to his brother, Abdesslam had done a chest X-ray, but was not provided any insulin, although he claimed to be diabetic. He was taken back to the police station and then the two brothers were transferred to the Chihia station where they signed the minutes without even reading them, on the advice of a lawyer present, who they did not know. Abdesslam was showing signs of weakness and the lawyer notified the officers that he was suffering from diabetes, but they did not react.

The next day, the two brothers spent the day in the jail of the Sfax court. Abdesslam was in a critical condition, suffering from stomach pains and diarrhea. Still, the police officers did nothing. The prosecutor ordered their placement in preventive detention without even seeing them.

On the evening of March 2, Abdesslam and his brother arrived at Thyna prison. Abdesslam lost conscience and the nurse gave him a dose of insulin, but it was not enough. The next morning, Abdesslam had to be taken to the hospital in an emergency. The treatment was too late and he died on the way. While it is clear that he was not abused while in police custody, he was subjected to criminal negligence that calls for a prompt investigation and prosecution.

An investigation was opened but four months later, the family has still not received the autopsy report.