The second hearing of eight people suspected in the murder of Lotfi Naguedh, the Nidaa Tounes Tataouine coordinator who died last month amid a violent protest, took place today at the Court of First Instance of Tataouine.
The suspects were arrested on November 4, two weeks after Naguedh, who is also the president of the Tataouine office of the Tunisian Union of Agriculture and Fishing (UTAP), died during a clash between members of the Committee for the Protection of the Revolution and employees from UTAP.
The official coroner’s report states that Naghuedh died from a heart attack he suffered during the clashes, but Nidaa Tounes dispute that claim.
Three suspects have not been apprehended, according to Taher Naguedh, the cousin of Lotfi Naguedh. The first hearing for the eight suspects in custody occurred on November 6.
“We are waiting for the judge to finish the investigation. So far, no accusation has been addressed to them, ” Naguedh said.
The Naguedh family’s legal team intends to ask the Highest Court of Appeals to entrust the case to another court instead of the Tataouine court, the committee told Mosaique FM radio today. Taher Naguedh confirmed the family’s request.
Abada Kefi, a member of Naguedh’s legal team, told Mosaique FM radio that this demand was motivated by a change of judge in charge of investigating the case as well as what he described as inappropriate outside pressure on witnesses. He said he was surprised by the change, which he said could interfere with the investigation.
He said members of the Committee for the Protection of the Revolution, an unofficial network that supports the ruling Ennahdha party and aims to root out members of the former regime, have sought to influence witnesses.
“They have been pushing with the course of the investigation to the direction that they want, despite the clear conviction of the suspects and the witnesses who saw the attack,” he said.
The suspects’ defense team, comprising members of the Committee for the Protection of the Revolution, is preparing a defense to present to the investigating judge, according to Radio Tataouine. Fathi Karoud, the lawyer of the accused, told Radio Tataouine that his clients are innocent.