Family demands ‘truth’ about Tunisian opposition leader’s murder

Relatives of slain Tunisian opposition figure Chokri Belaid on Monday called for a stalled trial to reveal the “truth” about his murder on the fourth anniversary of his death.

Belaid, a fierce critic of the Islamist party then in power, was shot dead aged 48 outside his home in the capital in February 2013.

His murder — and the killing of opposition figure Mohamed Brahmi in July the same year — plunged Tunisia into a political crisis and led to the resignation of the government, led at the time by Ennahdha.

Jihadists linked to the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for killing both Belaid and Brahmi.

Tunisian authorities also blamed jihadists, and said in 2014 they had killed Belaid’s presumed killer Kamel Gadhgadhi.

But for the past year and a half, the trial of 24 people suspected of implication in the case has been repeatedly postponed. The next hearing is scheduled for April 14.

“We know the assassination of Chokri Belaid is a state crime and that institutions are implicated,” Belaid’s widow Basma Khalfaoui said on Monday.

“So we are trying to push for the truth to come out,” she said, as Tunisia commemorated her husband’s death.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed attended a ceremony at the site of his murder, and another at which President Beji Caid Essebsi inaugurated a square in Belaid’s name in central Tunis.

Belaid “has become a great figure of patriotism” and the Tunisian revolution, Essebsi said, referring to the 2011 revolt that toppled president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Politicians from Belaid’s former bloc boycotted the ceremony, however.

“Before inaugurating such a square, the president should reveal the truth,” Mohamed Jmour, an official from a party in the left-wing Popular Front bloc, said.


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