Ali Ben Salem

Ali Ben Salem or Ali Kchouk, born in 1931 in Bizerte, is a Tunisian human rights activist and anti-colonialist. He is an opponent of the regimes of Presidents Habib Bourguiba and Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. Ali Ben Salem is considered the oldest human rights activist in Tunisia. While he was the president of the Bizertine section of the Tunisian Human Rights League. He co-founded the National Council for Freedoms and the Association against Torture in Tunisia.

Combat against French colonizationEdit

In 1938, Ali Ben Salem was only seven years old when he lost his father shot dead by the police during a nationalist demonstration. This gave him a feeling of injustice towards the French colonization. His military service during the Indochina War gave him an opportunity to get familiar with the use of arms.

Ali Ben Salem joined the maquis during the Tunisian armed uprising (1952-1954). He took part in the robbery of the Bizerte central post office de Bizerte and the derailment of a train In 1954. He was arrested and sentenced to death by a French military tribunal but escaped his sentence.[1]

Opposition to BourguibaEdit

In 1955, after the start of internal autonomy, the yousséfiste split turned to a civil war between the supporters of Habib Bourguiba and those of his rival Salah Ben Youssef. Salah Ben Youssef. Ben Salem did not choose either side which is why he is hunted down by the two belligerents. He then went into hiding and living in exile in Libya.

in July 1961, and in the preparations for the Bizerte crisis, he saw the need to go out of hiding. He takes an active part in the battle alongside the Neo-Destour volunteers and the young Tunisian Armed Forces. The ill-prepared battle, however, turned into a disorder and Ben Salem receives two injuries on the neck and the back.[1]

In 1977, together with Saâdeddine Zmerli and Mustapha Ben Jafar, he founded the Tunisian Human Rights League, LTDH. He is now campaigning for the release of political prisoners who oppose the Bourguiba regime.

Opposition to Ben AliEdit

Within n the LTDH, Ali Ben Salem openly criticized the regime of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali especially during the campaign for the arrested supporters of the Ennahda Movement in 1991. He fought for the release of political prisoners. Above all, in 1998, Ben Salem and several other human rights activists struggled for the respect of human rights in Tunisia. He participated in the founding of the National Council for Liberties in Tunisia. He also founded the Anti-Torture Association in Tunisia.

After the RevolutionEdit

After the revolution of 2011, Ali Ben Salem, the honorary president of the LTDH, became a symbol of the combat against the dictatorship. He was chosen to be part of the Higher Authority for Realisation of the Objectives of the Revolution, Political Reform and Democratic Transition.[2]

On 14 December 2011, the day after he became the president of the Republic, Moncef Marzouki, visited the city of Bizerte. He presented him the grand cordon of the Order of Independence on March 20, 2012.[3] On October 23, he was appointed to be part of the Higher Committee human rights and fundamental freedoms for a period of three years. [4]

In the 2014 Tunisian parliamentary election he was elected to the Assembly of the Representatives of the People. He chaired the opening session of the assembly before the election of Mohamed Ennaceur.[5]

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