The Central Bank of Tunisia has placed into circulation (21st December 2017) a new 20-dinar bank note featuring a portrait of Farhat Hached (1914-1952), a Tunisian trade unionist who was also one of the leaders of the pro-independence Tunisian national movement, along with Habib Bourguiba (1903–2000), first president of Tunisia, and Salah ben Youssef (1907–1961), another key leader of the Tunisian national movement. For decades after the death of Hached, often referred to as “the Martyr,” it was thought that he had been assassinated by a lone group called “La Main Rouge” (The Red Hand), an armed organisation whose perceived aim was thought to favour a continued French presence in Tunisia. However, as recently as 2009, it was reported by a leading news organisation that the Red Hand was, in fact, a military wing of the Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage or the “French External Documentation and Counter-Espionage Service” (SDECE). Thus, Hached is now widely believed to have been assassinated by the French intelligence services on the morning of the 5th December 1952, in a planned ambush when machine gun bullets were fired at him. He survived this hail of bullets, only to be approached by three further assassins who shot him at point-blank range. The announcement of his death was followed by protests and riots in Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Indonesia, in addition to some European cities with sizeable Tunisian and Arab communities. Hached was survived by his young widow and four small children. His body was later entombed in a specially built mausoleum located in Tunis in 1955.
The new note is produced using an engraved printing process and measures 153 millimetres x 76 millimetres with a predominantly red colour and corresponding underprint shades. The portrait of Hached is placed off-side towards the center-right half of the note on the face. To the right of the portrait is Crane Currency’s RAPID security feature which is easily viewable by a slight tilt of the note. The optical effect of RAPID shows the numeral 20 and a dynamic movement of bars on a three-dimensional background. In the middle, to the left of the portrait, the numeral 20 appears in large format at the bottom while the date of the note is seen as 2017-7-25. On the lower right and left edges, there are three horizontal tactile lines for the visually impaired which are easily recognisable by touch.
As seen from the back, the following text in French reads Banque Centrale de Tunisie. Next to this text, towards the top right corner, is the denomination written in Arabic along with the numeral 20. The numeral 20 is also placed towards the lower left with the accompanying text VINGT DINARS. On the right is a partial view of the amphitheater of El Jem while in the centre is a panoramic view of this same monument. In the foreground toward the bottom is a Corinthian column from the same monument.
A watermark is situated to the right of the bank note when viewed from the face and represents the portrait of Farhat Hached. Toward the right is the numeral 20, which appears clearly when held up to the light.
A SparkLive element, which consists of a circle located in the upper left corner, contains the numeral 20 in the centre which turns from gold to green according to the angle of view. This element has a swirling effect showing, depending on the angle of view, one or two rings moving about a central axis on a three-dimensional background.
Micro-letter printing of the text TWENTY DINARS is seen below the portrait and in various places on the four edges of the bill.
As seen on the reverse, a latent iridescent (reflective) strip of gold colour is placed on the right part of the bank note in a vertical direction. This band is particularly visible at certain angles according to the inclination of the note.
The new 2017-dated 20-dinar bank note ($8.00) issue replaces the previous note of the same denomination dated 2011. For additional information on the current series of bank notes issued by the Central Bank of Tunisia, please visit their website.
The Central Bank of Tunisia also announced on the 29th December that the previously issued bank notes of 50-dinars (type 2008), 30-dinars (type 1997), and 20-dinars (type 1992) can be exchanged at their representative offices until the 31st March 2018.