Politics & Economics

Tunisian Parliament approves more robust anti-terrorism law

North Africa

The Tunisian House of Representatives approved an amendment to the Anti-Terrorism and Anti-Money Laundering Act passed in 2015.

132 deputies voted in favour of the amendment to the anti-terrorism law in the Tunisian Parliament, while three members of parliament abstained. Lawmakers and deputies believe that terrorism in the country is largely linked to money-laundering activities.

We noticed that some chapters of the law needed to be amended because there is a link between terrorism and money laundering. There are 3 or 4 chapters related to money laundering and they must be revised. We want to provide our security services and our judiciary with all the capabilities to fight terrorism and money laundering”, mentioned Sufyan Tubal, head of the Nidaa Tounes political party.

The new amendment aims at establishing harsher penalties for terror-financing crimes and doubling the logistical capabilities of the security and judicial services to hold those involved in the terrorist operations in the country accountable.

The amendment also recognises the adoption of special procedures for the children of terrorists to avoid the case where they would be attracted by extremist groups.

Tunisian youth have been subjected to extremist propaganda and indeed there are a number of young Tunisians who have joined extremist groups and have even traveled to fight in their name in faraway countries such as Syria.

Nevertheless, counter-extremism strategies are a hot topic in the country and there are several ongoing programs that are being implemented to prevent the spread of extremism amongst the youth.

For instance, a project called “Wasl” was introduced last year by an array of civil society groups. The focus of the project was on education with the aim of equipping young Tunisians with the ideological tools to counter extremist narratives and worldviews based on discrimination and violence.

There have also been instances of influential individuals taking a stand against extremism in Tunisia. For example, Mohammed Absha, a young Tunisian Imam, has promoted messages of tolerance amongst his young adherents, despite the threats he faced from extremist voices.