A campaign launched by Tunisian doctors has called for an investigation into the forensic reports of former Nidaa Tounes regional coordinator Lotfi Nagdh, who died during a violent confrontation between protesters in 2012, suggesting one of the man’s autopsies may have been falsified.
Nagdh’s official cause of death was ruled to be heart failure by Tunisia’s troika-led Ministry of the Interior in 2012, apparently confirmed by a forensic report issued by doctors following his death, but the movement “Doctors Against Corruption,” has pointed out apparent inconsistencies between the forensic report issued in Gabes and another issued in Sfax, one of which apparently detailed injuries consistent with a lynching.
“It is implausible that two reports would disagree to such a degree after examining the same corpse,” the statement reads.
“One of the medical reports is wrong and aims to mislead the Tunisian justice system.”
Many witnesses and members of Nidaa Tounes have claimed that Nagdh was lynched outside the headquarters of the Regional Union of Agriculture and Fisheries in Tattaouine, after a political march escalated into violent clashes on the streets.
According to these accounts, a large mob— among them members of the League to Protect the Revolution, a controversial Islamist group active in the years following the Revolution—-scaled the walls of the Union offices and pulled Nagdh and others from the building where they were beaten. A video published by Tunisian media outlet Kapitalis claims to show the incident.
Nagdh’s alleged lynching, consistently denied by many Ennahda supporters as politically motivated propaganda , was a watershed moment in the development of Nidaa Tounes, one of the first openly secular parties in Tunisia.
Tensions over the 2012 case flared up last week after four men facing murder charges in connection with Nagdh’s alleged lynching were acquitted by a court in Sousse.
The ruling, which was met outside the court with public outrage, reopened old wounds between rival political parties.
Officials for Nida Tounes denounced the verdict, claiming that Nagdh had been targeted for his vocal stance against Ennahda, while supporters of the former leagues spoke in favor of those acquitted.
Speaking to Tunisia Live, former head of the League for the Protection of the Revolution Imed Dghij said “the judgement was expected” and that his only concern had been “whether the judges would be influenced by members of Nidaa Tounes.”
Contrary to many media reports, Dghij said that Nidaa Tounes provoked the 2012 clash and that no evidence suggested Nagdh had sustained any injuries prior to his death. He also claimed that a popular image circulating on social media purporting to be the body of Nagdh is fake.
It is unclear how the organization “Doctors Against Corruption” gained access to Nagdh’s forensic files, and a representative for the group was unable to be reached before the time of publication.