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Tortured for refusing to bribe …

Oussama*, 34 years old, Tunis

In April 2021, Oussama was arrested in the street by police officers from his neighborhood, who had repeatedly robbed him and whom he had recently refused to pay. They beat him up in the street, then took him to the closest police station, where they continued to beat him up badly and threatened to falsely accuse him of drug trafficking. He was finally released after the arrival of the chief of the brigade, but only after promising not to file a complaint against the officers. Oussama is one of the many victims of ordinary police violence carried out by officers for punitive purposes.

Oussama is a young shopkeeper working in Tunis. He says he has had to pay bribes to local officials on several occasions. When he stopped paying, the same agents retaliated. In April 2021, two officers that he knows stopped his car, forced him to step out, handcuffed him and beat him up in the street in daytime. In the police car, the officers punched and kicked him again all over his body, including his face and neck. They took him back to their police station. While he was still handcuffed, they beat him with a baton, punched and slapped him and threatened to implicate him in a drug trafficking case.

The chief of the brigade arrived and ordered his release, but made him promise not to press charges against the officers. When he left the station, Oussama went to the hospital. The doctor found abrasions and bruises on his face and neck, bruises on his shoulders and a sprain on his hand.