Tunisia parliament votes to ease harsh drug law

Between 2011 and 2016, the number of trials under the law shot up from 732 to 5,744
The Daily Star / AFP (Lebanon)
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tunisia's parliament voted to ease the country's harsh law on drugs, in a move that could see offenders like youths caught smoking marijuana escape jail terms. The country has faced mounting calls from rights groups and civil society to reform the law. Law 52, dating back to the rule of toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, imposes a mandatory one-year jail sentence for narcotics use, ruling out any mitigating circumstances. Judges were obliged to apply the law, with offenders facing sentences of up to five years in jail. The amendment grants judges the power to use their own discretion and take into account mitigating circumstances. (see also: Tunisia parliament approves slight deviation from repressive drug laws | Cannabis and the Drug Law in Tunisia: A Reform Rooted in Social Justice Claims)