Letter of March 1 st 2003 from Jacques Gaillot
In Tunisa with the freedom fighters





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liberté In Tunisia with the freedom fighters 
I spent 4 days in Tunis accompanied by Rachid who was representing the Union for the young North Africans in France.
Hamma Hammami I was happy to be greeted at the airport by Hamma Hammami. His wife, a lawyer, had told me so much about him! It was a very emotional moment. For the first time, I was meeting the man that I defended in Tunis when he was in jail. I remembered his book: "The way to dignity" where he was describing his thirty years of struggle, his time in prison, the tortures, his clandestine life.  
Before being sent back to prison, Hamman said:" Nothing can make us afraid, either the unfair trials, the prisons, the tortures or the bad treatments" This fighter for freedom was now facing me and he took me to his home to stay with his family!

I was delighted to meet Judge Mokhtar Yahyaoui, he is the uncle of Zouhair who I defended and who is still in prison. Mokhtarr invited me to have dinner at his home. I admired this judge who courageously and freely dared to write in an open letter how the government unduly influenced him and how it was impossible for him to make a fair trial. Too much is too much, he became a rebel. No one beforehand could have known that he could do this distinguished action. Not being an activist for human rights or for a political party, he created a surprise. His conscience pushed him to speak. He was immediately punished and threatened. To speak the truth can be very costly!

Zouhair family invited me for dinner. His relatives, parents, brothers and sisters spoke heartily of him. They expected his liberation, perhaps for the great Aïd feast that is coming soon? How can one rejoice when a loved one is in prison?

The press conference was an opportunity for me to speak in favor of Zouhair and for all political prisoners. Many activists attended, even some coming from the south of Tunisia.   délivre de la peur
I was impressed to speak in front of persons having been in a great turmoil, like being in prison and having had a life under cover. They are men who liberated themselves from fear and have become free men.

Zouhair was neither a social activist nor an activist for a party; he freely entered into resistance. He opened a web site to give some freedom of expression to the people in Tunisia. Young, he has become a symbol. An impressive solidarity has surrounded him to avoid him to stay isolated. At least the Ben Ali regime has the advantage to make people aware of human rights!

Zouhair Yahyoui Zouhair is also a symbol for the families who are punished. The political regime does not only isolate the prisoners but also their families. It threatens them and tries to break their solidarity.  
What is the future for a political regime based on fear? When people are afraid you can demand every thing from them. However when more and more people cannot put up with injustice and begin to speak, the future stays opened and hope becomes possible.