Rights group: Tough laws wrong response to Tunisia's drugs problem

Activists say Tunisia's tough laws on smoking cannabis are ruining young people's lives
Middle East Eye
Thursday, February 12, 2015

tunisia cannabis2Tunisia's tough law on cannabis use, laying down jail terms of at least one year, is "destroying lives" and overcrowding prisons, according to a group of activists urging reform. Since the law was passed more than 20 years ago, "tens of thousands of Tunisians have been convicted", the group said in an open letter to the government. "But the number of people sentenced and the number of users continue to grow, proving that this law is not a deterrent. It has failed," said the group, named Al Sajin 52 (Prisoner 52) as the law is called. Smoking "zatla", or cannabis resin, is punishable by between one and five years in jail, with the same law prohibiting judges from passing lighter sentences for extenuating circumstances.