Information on the An-Nahda party, its aims, how many members it has and the treatment of members and their families by the authorities [TUN29114.E]

For full background information on the An-Nahda party up to 1 December 1996, please refer to Political Handbook of the World 1997, section on Renaissance Party, which is available at Regional Resource Centres.

A 2 October 1997 United Press International (UPI) reports states that An-Nahda's leader Rachid Ghannouchi was still living in exile in London.

An 8 September 1997 Country Risk Service report issued by The Economist Intelligence Unit in London states that:

Continued strict government control of the media will ensure that opposition groups, such as the Islamist Hizb al-Nahda (Party of Reawakening), have little chance of taking their message to a wider audience. A government proposal to include in the constitution a ban on religious parties, if accepted, will make it even harder for any future government to absorb al-Nahda and its supporters into the political system.

On the treatment of An-Nahda members, a 17 March 1997 COMPASS Newswire report states that:

President Ben Ali's regime has mercilessly crushed all organized opposition in Tunisia, including the Islamist movement An-Nahda. International human rights organizations have long denounced the country's bad record on human rights, estimating thousands of people--mainly Islamists-- have been detained and tortured for their opinions.

Furthermore, a 27 November 1997 report from the Word Organization Against Torture (Organisation mondiale contre la torture ( OMCT) states that Ms. Rachida ben Salem, whose husband is a political refugee in Ther Netherlands since 1992, was sentenced to two years in prison for belonging to the An-Nahda Islamist group.

A June 1997 Amnesty International report states that of the hundreds of Tunisian prisoners of conscience, a majority of them were accused of being An-Nahda supporters, many from the late 1980's and early 1990's (6). The report refers to the cases of two women, Ahlam Garat-Ali and Salwa Dimassi who were arrested in May 1996 (7). Both have been ill-treated while being interrogated about their meetings with other supporters of An-Nahda in the late 1980's and early 1990's and have been accused of being members of a terrorist organization (ibid.). Both were detained without trial (ibid.).

The June 1997 report also mentions that relatives of exiled Islamists, including wives, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, have been « interrogated, beaten and ill-treated by members of the security forces. " However, a subsequent Amnesty International news release issued on 28 October 1997 welcomes positive steps taken by the Tunisian government to "address the plight of wives and children of Tunisian political refugees." The release states that "at least 35 women and their children have been given passports and allowed to leave Tunisia to join their exiles husbands."

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Amnesty International. 28 October 1997. Tunisia: Government Addresses Plight of Wives and Children of Exiled Political Opponents. (AI Index: MDE 30/53/97). London: Anmesty International Secretariat. Press release.

_____. June 1997. Tunisia: A Widening Circle of Repression. (AI Index: MDE 30/25/97). London: Amnesty International Secretariat.

COMPASS Newswire. 17 March 1997. "Tunisian Opponent Attacked and Injured." (NEXIS)

The Economist Intelligence Unit. 8 September 1998. Tunisia: A Tight Grip and Weak Opposition. London: The Economist Intelligence Unit. [Internet], [Accessed: 30 Mar. 1998].

Organisation mondiale contre la torture (OMCT). 27 November 1997. Violence Against Women: Case TUN 260597.2. Geneva: Organisation mondiale contre la torture. (E-mail:

United Press International (UPI). 2 October 1997. BC Cycle. "British Newspaper Apologizes to Tunisian." (NEXIS)