A men sell souvenirs at the Star Wars movie set in Ong Jmal, in Nefta, May 3, 2014. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi
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Tunisia's tough law on cannabis use, laying down jail terms of at least one year, is "destroying lives" and overcrowding prisons, according to a group of activists urging reform.Smoking "zatla," or cannabis resin, is punishable by between one and five years in prison, with the same law prohibiting judges from passing lighter sentences for extenuating circumstances.As a result, more than half of the 13,000 people in pretrial detention, and around a third of Tunisia's 11,000 convicts were arrested for drug abuse, and cannabis in particular, according to U.N. figures.One young Tunisian who spent over seven months in jail is haunted by the experience three years on.Outspoken politician and businessman Hechmi Hamdi, whose party came second in 2011 legislative elections, has called on the government to declare a "state of emergency" in the fight against cannabis.
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