The investigative judge of Grombalia district issued an arrest warrant yesterday for former Minister of Justice Sadok Chaabane in connection with the 1991 murder of Islamist activist Rachid Chemakhi, confirmed the Justice Ministry to Tunisia Live.
Chemakhi was murdered while Chaabane was serving as an advisor on human rights in the cabinet of former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali – one year before he would become minister of justice.
According to Yamina Zoghlami, a National Constituent Assembly member affiliated with Ennahdha, Chemakhi was tortured to death on October 27, 1991 three days after he was detained at the National Guard base in Nabeul governorate.
She added that Chemakhi was a university student at the time of his murder and that Amnesty International prepared a report concerning Chemakhi’s case, which was not recognized by the erstwhile Tunisian government.
“The martyr’s family did not wait for the transitional justice law to be ready and resorted directly to the judiciary. Thank God that the case was recognized finally,” stated Zoghlami.
The arrest warrant for Chaabane is not the first major development in Chemakhi’s longstanding case. Tunisian daily La Presse reported that the investigative judge at the Court of First Instance in Grombalia had questioned last year Mohamed Ali Ganzoui, former director of national security, as well as Bechir Tekkari, former minister of justice and human rights, as witnesses.
According to the same source, the judge also issued arrest warrants for three doctors and another three for Ben Ali, the manager of Grombalia’s regional hospital in October 1991, and Abdelfattah Adib, a lieutenant colonel in Nabeul’s National Guard at the time of Chemakhi’s arrest.