Tunisia. In March, Tunisia celebrated 50 years of
independence from France. At the end of February, according
to CountryAAH, 1,600
prisoners were released, including 81 political prisoners.
In November, after serving 19 years in power, President
Zayn al-Abidin Ben Ali pardoned 55 Islamist prisoners,
including two leaders of the banned Islamist movement
al-Nahda. Habib Ellouz and Mohammed Akrout had been
sentenced to life imprisonment in 1992 following criticized
trials. The releases were surrounded by harsh conditions and
they risked being imprisoned again without any right to a
In October, the authorities sharpened the application of
a law from 1981 that prohibits women from wearing
headscarves in schools and government agencies.
Tunisia's relations with Qatar became very frosty in
October. Tunisia closed its embassy in Doha in protest of
Qatar-based TV channel al-Jazira broadcasting two interviews
with opposition leader Moncef Marzouki, who returned after
five years of exile in France. Marzouki, leader of the
banned party CPR (Congrès pour la Republique), had called
for civil disobedience against President Ben Ali.
In addition to the treatment of prisoners and opposites,
continued criticism was also directed at restrictions on
freedom of the press and opinion. However, that did not
prevent Tunisia from being elected to the UN's new Human
Rights Council in May.
Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier
visited Tunisia in November during a tour of North Africa.
In January 2007, Germany takes over the EU Presidency.
In February, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
visited and discussed cooperation in security matters.
Tunisia - Tunis
Tunis, capital of Tunisia; 747,200 residents (2014). Tunis, located near the
Mediterranean at the northern end of the country, is a political, economic and
cultural center with a university (founded in 1960) and a diverse industry. It
is also a tourist resort with health spa and archaeological sites. International
airport is available.
Tunis (Greek Tyʹnēs ) was originally a Libyan city that came under
Carthage and was destroyed at the same time as 146 BC. The city was rebuilt as
Thuni (later Tunes ) by the Romans, but its heyday began with
the Aghlabids in the 8th century. During the 13th century, Tunis became a major
center in the realm of the sea.
During the 16th century, the city was occasionally controlled by the
Spaniards before it was conquered by the Ottomans in 1574. Tunis came to France
in 1881 and was occupied by the Germans in 1942-43.