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Urge Congress to support the Tunisian democracy
Tunisia, where the Arab Spring began in 2011, is currently under major political upheaval with Tunisian President Kais Sied invoking emergency powers, firing the prime minister, and suspending parliament. Kais' 23-article Presidential Decree, known also as Decision 117, has suspended the Constitution and granted him extraordinary powers. The new constitution has removed the oversight structures needed to hold authorities accountable, by limiting the safeguards and independence of the judiciary, and granted the President unchecked "emergency" powers that may undermine many institutional guarantees for human rights. In a country that has long fought to adopt democratic procedures, this move seems to be the beginning of a drawn-out coup by the Tunisian President Kais Sied. 

The president has now moved to assume more power and unleashed a deep crackdown on those who dissent with the help of the military. To defend democracy in Tunisia, there is currently an Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would set conditions on U.S. military cooperation with the Tunisian military and security services. 

This provision does not seek to undermine U.S.-Tunisian security cooperation. Rather, it aims to ensure that the Tunisian security services and U.S. security assistance do not remain complicit in Kais Saied’s constitutional coup—a year-long deconstruction of Tunisia’s hard-fought democracy. This provision would limit U.S. aid to the Tunisian military and police subject to clear democratic conditions, such as ending the use of military courts to prosecute peaceful activists, ending the blockade of parliament by the Tunisian Army, and ensuring police are not interfering with free speech & assembly. 

At a time when the U.S. is taking the wrong steps toward supporting democratic values in the Arab world, this amendment provides a rare but important opportunity to counter this trend. So, please take the next two minutes to urge your elected officials to co-sponsor this important amendment.

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