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Tunisia

Yearbook 2007

Tunisia. Police hit several times during the year along with people suspected of being militant Islamists. In January, twelve people were killed - according to the government terrorists - in fighting four miles south of the capital Tunis. Fifteen people were arrested. In April, about 1,000 people in the past two years were reportedly arrested in Tunisia for terrorist offenses. According to CountryAAH, a number of Islamists were said to have been convicted during the year, but the reporting on this was scarce and reached the outside world mainly through Arabic-speaking media abroad. Three people, who were extradited from Syria in 2005, were reportedly sentenced in May to up to eleven years in prison for attempting to join militant Islamist groups in Iraq.

2007 Tunisia

Seven Tunisian fishermen were arrested in August on the Italian island of Lampedusa suspected of human smuggling. The seven had rescued 44 African refugees and landed them on the island. The fish were released after a month but were later prosecuted in the fall.

Contemporary History of Tunisia

Tunisia's contemporary history encompasses the period from 1956, which was the year Tunisia became an independent state. The independence was introduced after a transitional period of direct autonomy, as a result of an agreement with the colonial power France from the previous year.

After independence there followed a long period of political stability under the "country father", the far-away monarchical president Habib Bourguiba. After he was deposed in 1987, liberalization took place under the successor, General Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. The great upheaval in modern Tunisian history came at the turn of the year 2010/11, when a popular uprising pushed the president from power and started a real democratization process. The rebellion in Tunisia was also the start of the Arab Spring.

In 2015, the Tunisian Quartet for National Dialogue was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its role as a conflict mediator and driving force in the democracy process in the country.

Independence

Tunisia became an independent state on March 20, 1956, with Tahar ben Ammar of Nouveau party libéral constitutionnel (Arabic: l-Ḥizb Al-Ḥurr Ad-Dustūrī Al-Jadīd), best known as Néo-Destour, as prime minister. On March 25 elections were held for a constitutional assembly, in which all the mandates went to a list dominated by Néo-Destour and the trade union organization Union Générale des Travailleurs Tunisia (UGTT). A new government led by Habib Bourguiba as prime minister was deployed.

In July 1957, the National Assembly decided to abolish the monarchy, and the last ruler, Lamine Bey, was deposed. Bourguiba became president and head of state, as well as prime minister. Formally speaking, Tunisia became a republic only after the new constitution came into force in 1959. It gave the president extensive power.

The French forces in Tunisia were to be gradually withdrawn, but France refused to make a full withdrawal due to the deteriorating situation in Algeria. After French aircraft bombed Tunisian border villages, Tunisia broke diplomatic relations and demanded full French withdrawal, which was met, with the exception of the base in Bizerte. In July 1961, with the support of the UN, Tunisia again demanded that France leave the Bizerte base and surround it. This led to fighting action; the French forces took control of the base and the city of Bizerte, and only after the ceasefire in Algeria did France abandon it.

Low participation in several areas during the 1956 elections showed that there was still opposition to Bourguiba's wing within Néo-Destour, after defeating the more radical Salah Ben Yusuf prior to independence. And still there was a fellow militia active in support of Ben Yusuf. Bourguiba called for help from French forces still stationed in the country to defeat them, which succeeded in June 1956. Ben Yusuf went into exile in Egypt in 1957, where he was assassinated in 1961. In a court settlement, a number of Tunisians were convicted of cooperating with the colonial power, politically or economically.

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