15 Tunisians detained in connection to the September 14 attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Tunis were released yesterday, as the government continues to grapple with the legal standing of around 100 Salafist suspects arrested in the wake of recent violence.
The released prisoners, some of whom are minors, did not participate in the protests at the U.S. Embassy itself but were largely arrested after partaking in protests elsewhere in Tunis on the day of the attack, according to Anoir Ouled Ali, a lawyer representing the suspects.
“The police after the embassy attacks tried to arrest all the bearded people in the streets,” he said. “It was very clear discrimination against the Salafist movement.”
110 detainees remain in prison since authorities began a wave of arrests in response to the embassy attack and other violent incidents, according to Mondher Cherni, General Secretary of the Association Against Torture.
This week, two suspects died while partaking in a hunger strike protesting their incarceration. The majority of the remaining suspects have taken up the hunger strike, Ouled Ali said.
President Moncef Marzouki said at a conference on Salafists last Saturday that the government will not allow the hunger strikes to strong-arm the judicial system.