Oral history interview with Mohamed Fadehel Mahfoudh, 2016
Mohamed Fadehel Mahfoudh is a Tunisian lawyer. He has been president of the Tunisian Order of Lawyers (ONAT) since 2013. In 1998 he became a member of the National Bar Association's Sfax Council, and in 2010 was elected its president.
Scope and Contents
Fadehel Mahfoudh narrates his experiences of Tunisia's revolutionary uprisings, during which he was in Sfax advocating on behalf of the demonstrators. He became responsible for organizing Tunisians living abroad for the first Independent High Authority for the Elections (ISIE). Mahfoudh explains the specific role of the National Bar Association in the history of Tunisia's democracy. He describes how the Tunisian Order of Lawyers (ONAT) responded to the assassinations of Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi in 2013: they demanded a national dialogue and the unions followed suit. A roadmap was then developed detailing how the transition would proceed: the national dialogue, the ratification of a new constitution, the election of the second ISIE, and the creation of a technocratic government to set up elections. Mahfoudh had witnessed many unfair trials during Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's reign and was determined to defend human rights. Ben Ali's police state had also affected his personal life, professional success, and mobility. Mahfoudh discusses the formation of the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet and its processes in facilitating the national dialogue. He details the difficulties of collaboration across political parties. Finally, Mahfoudh reflects on Tunisia's new constitution and the specificity of the country's transition.
Copyright by the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, 2016.