Chamseddine Bourassine



Chamseddine Bourassine is a Tunisian fisher from the coastal town of Zarzis and is the president of the “Zarzis le Pecheur” Association (ADPE) and the “Network of Small-Scale Fishing Activities”. Known for his many sea rescues of migrants fleeing Libya, he was arrested by the Italian authorities for saving a boat of migrants in 2018. Bourassine and five other fishers were on a fishing expedition when they spotted a small boat carrying 14 Tunisian citizens 35 miles from Lampedusa with a broken motor. After having informed the Italian Coast Guard, and waited several hours, the fisher decided to tow the small boat a few miles from the island of Lampedusa, in order to facilitate the rescue operation. Once they arrived on the spot, the Italian authorities arrested Bourassine and his comrades accusing them of “aiding and abetting illegal immigration”. News of the arrest of Chamseddine Bourassine provoked an immediate international reaction, including an appeal signed by 500 fishers addressed to the Italian Ambassador in Tunis. Bourassine was finally released on 23 September 2018 and later nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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