26 February 2013 12:20 pm | | 7


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Opposition leader Chokri Belaid

Authorities have identified and are pursuing the killer of leftist opposition leader Chokri Belaid, said Interior Minister Ali Laarayedh in a press conference Tuesday. Four suspects allegedly connected to the assassination of Belaid have been detained as well, said Laarayedh, and their ages range from 26 to 34 years.

A religious extremist group allegedly planned and carried out the murder, added the interior minister. He denied any external involvement in the assassination of Belaid, contrary to allegations made by Faouzi Ben Mrad, chairman of the Defense Committee of the Martyr Chokri Belaid, that Algerians were behind the murder. However, Laarayedh could not confirm whether or not the group belongs to a larger organization.

Recent media reports had previously circulated that at least one suspect, a hardline Islamist, has been arrested since the launch of an investigation February 6.

Tunisian radio Mosaique FM reported that, according to a high-level security forces official, the anti-crimes brigade at Gorjani has arrested a suspect who lives in the northern suburbs of Le Kram, while a second suspect is being pursued.

According to the same source, the suspect, a 31-year-old fundamentalist Islamist, has admitted involvement in the crime, saying he was executing a fatwa that had been issued against Belaid.

Recently-appointed Prime Minister Laarayedh – still acting as interior minister – stated last week that arrests had been made in Belaid’s case. But he did not provide any details regarding the number of suspects or their identities.

TAP stated Tuesday that media have said a second suspect was arrested, but the state-owned news agency could not confirm reports.

Thousands of protestors, many from the political opposition, demonstrated in downtown Tunis Saturday, denouncing the delay in the investigation of Belaid’s murder.

The Ministry of the Interior was not available for comment.

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Comments (7)

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  4. The killers are professionals. They may be religious extremists as this article implies. Or they may members of the Mafia or even of a foreign secret services organization, as some rumors indicate. Whatever the case, Tunisians want to know WHO contracted and ordered the political assassination of Chokri Belaid, and WHY ?

    • mark says:

      Who ever ‘they’ are i hope that the truth whatever it is comes out….easy to point at outsiders when the truth may lie within. Of course we may never be told the who…what….why…when etc., I have no time for speculation as it just creates gossip when what is needed is fact.

      I hope that there are no mistakes in the investigation. However, I think the government is getting the message that the tunisian people are not as easily manipulated or lied to as perhaps they were in the past.

  5. Patrick Batchelder says:

    Hopefully no one that is innocent will be arrested simply to quell demonstrations.

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