17 November 2012 4:51 pm | | 2

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Mohamed Bakhti when previously interviewed by Tunisia Live (Photo credit: Houda Mzioudet)

The death of Mohamed Bakhti, one of the suspects in the attack of the US Embassy in Tunis, drew strong criticism from his Tunisian lawyers and human rights organizations.

Bakhti’s death follows the death of another suspect Bechir Golli a day earlier.

“They released him when he was in total coma, almost a corpse and was delivered to the angel of death,” Anoir Ouled Ali, one of Bakhti’s lawyers spoke in a protesting voice to Tunisia Live.

Bakhti started a hunger strike on September 20, 2012 in protest at his arrest. He has been protesting his innocence of any wrongdoing during the attack on the US Embassy, his lawyer added.

Ouled Ali insisted that anyone responsible for the deathsof Golli and Bakhti will be held accountable for neglect or wrongdoing. “We will not spare any person [of questioning] including those in power”, he added.

One of Bakhti’s lawyers declared on Express FM radio yesterday that the incarcerated Salafists were subjected to torture in jail.

“Knowing Tunisian police’s practices, I must admit that little has changed since the revolution in the methods of incarceration of people in Tunisian jails. I tend to believe the lawyer’s declarations,” Radia Nasraoui, a human rights lawyer and president of the Tunisian Association Against Torture stated to Tunisia Live that.

“This is a tragedy. One could have intervened quickly to find a solution to this catastrophe”, Nasraoui added.

Nasraoui added that the association has always stood up with the Salafists during Ben Ali’s regime, protesting the conditions of their incarceration and their right to a fair trial. The association even published reports about the cases of the Salafists  on the Tunisian League of Human Rights’ website.

Nasraoui was informed about Bakhti’s case during Ben Ali’s time. Bakhti was accused of being involved in in what has popularly become known as the Soliman Case in 2007, involving Tunisian Islamists. In 2007, radical Islamists violently clashed with Tunisian army in the area of Soliman, south of Tunis. Bakhti was jailed for 12 years but was released in 2011 after the ouster of Ben Ali, under the declaration of an amnesty of Tunisian prisoners.

Nasraoui regretted not being informed earlier of both Golli and Bakhti’s critical condition in jail, while insisting on the association’s request to the Administration for Prisons and Rehabilitation of the Ministry of Justice to visit those incarcerated in jails. “They rejected our demand,” she said.

Bakhti was buried in his village of Jradou, in the governorate of Zaghouan, 50 km south west of Tunis this afternoon, Ouled Ali added.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Afif says:

    These indefinate detentions policies without a hearing to determine probable cause and the setting of an appearance bond are unacceptable. The guy should have been force-fed and tried. Tunisians do not have the right to critizise Guetanamo, when they are doing exactly the same thing.
    The minister of interior of all the people, should be the first one to know better, taking his history with the prior regime. It seems the current goverment has adopted the policies and tactics of their prior Master–Ben Ali. For those who lived abroad, such as President Marzouki himself, and the prime minister, you would think they have learned a little bit about the rule of law and human rights, which they claim to defend. I think the Americans themselves would rather insist on an unbiased and fair process in order to make a determination of who was guilty.
    It is a shame that we cannot protect these prisoners in order to bring the guilty to justice. We are still 1000 years behind the West,and I have no hope for these morons.

  2. Tunisia’s interim President Marzouki has publicly expressed his condolences and admitted the Tunisian state’s responsibility : and that is a first.
    The bad news is that the state’s police and security apparatus has not changed much since the ouster of Ben-Ali. They simply have a new boss : the En-Nahdha government.

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