16 November 2012 6:41 pm | | 2


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A security force member watches smoke consume the U.S. embassy compound (Photo credit: Rabii Kalboussi)

A Tunisian man imprisoned for his suspected role in the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Tunis died of a heart attack after sustaining a hunger strike for nearly two months.

Bechir Golli died yesterday after being transferred to a hospital, confirmed Anoir Ouled Ali, one of his lawyers. Another prisoner on hunger strike, Mohamed Bakth, was released on Wednesday and hospitalized in critical condition, Ouled Ali said.

Police have arrested more than 100 people for their suspected role in violent protests at the U.S. Embassy two months ago, raising tensions between local authorities and the Salafist community that has been blamed for the attack.

Demonstrators, incensed by the depiction of the Prophet Mohamed in an amateur, U.S.-made film, breached the U.S. Embassy and the neighboring American School on September 14 in an incident that left four Tunisians dead and threatened to cool relations with the U.S.

Ouled Ali said that most of the suspects under arrest have not yet been charged.

“All people that were around the embassy were arrested. That’s the problem,” he said. “There’s nothing against them. Golli wanted to prove that he was innocent.”

Golli’s brother told Mosaique FM that the Ministry of Justice rejected requests to release his brother as his health deteriorated.

“Everybody knew that he was in a critical state, but [the authorities] did not take it into consideration,” he said. “He did not hit anyone. He did not do anything. It’s not fair.”

Ouled Ali said that other prisoners are considering a general hunger strike, but plans will not be confirmed till Monday.

A few hundred Tunisian Salafists demonstrated peacefully earlier this month in front of the Ministry of Justice, protesting discrimination against Salafists and demanding the release of suspects arrested following the embassy attack.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Greta says:

    The state seems to be no longer functioning as it should. There are now two prisoners left without charge who have died in custody, a child drowned last week in a municipal pool due to an uncovered filter, the streets are still not cleaned properly almost two years after the revolution and the constitution is still unwritten. It is hard to understand why this government finds it so difficult to govern. Justice should be done and be seen to be done – the director of the prison where this man was allowed to die, the director of the pool where the child died and the heads of the municipalities where the streets are dirtiest should all be held to account publicly in the eyes of the people and we should see why these terrible things happen.

  2. angela says:

    Very sad that another death has occurred linked to the embassy attack. However a hunger strike is an elective process and when others have tried this way of protest the government has not responded so there clearly is no point in doing it cos no one who can make decisions cares.

    I certainly hope that the other prisoners do not begin to strike in this way cos if they do then they know they are likely to be left to die……who knows why justice (ha ) in Tunisia is so slow but it is and it is very wrong to keep people for such a long time without charge. Until the people challenge this government though… this type of behaviour will remain the norm.

    I know that the families of the innocent must be very concerned so maybe they could get people to shout and protest. There are enough people willing to protest about Gaza but where are those same people for their own people….charity begins at home. What the point of shouting about Gaza when everybody who has a heart feels the same way when the people in prison are dying right there.

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