Suspected Belaid killer named as Tunisia president testifies

News article, posted 03.10.2013, from Tunisia, in:
Suspected Belaid killer named as Tunisia president testifies (Photo: AP)

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki testified on Thursday in the murder probe of Chokri Belaid, as a judicial source named the Salafist suspected of the assassination that plunged the country into turmoil.

"President Moncef Marzouki received this morning the judge of the Tunis first instance tribunal who heard his testimony as a witness in the assassination of Chokri Belaid," said a brief statement.

The opposition leader was gunned down outside his Tunis home on February 6, with the broad daylight killing sparking clashes between protesters and police and prompting the largest anti-government demonstrations since the revolution.

His family says the president knew of death threats against Belaid, who was a vocal critic of the ruling Islamist party Ennahda, before he was murdered, claims presidential spokesman Adnene Mancer has denied.

On Thursday, Belaid's brother Abdelmajid repeated the claims to AFP.

"My brother had told me, and I quote him: 'The presidency has contacted me to tell me that I am threatened with death. And the president offered me protection but I refused because it would be tantamount to controlling me.'"

Abdelmajid added: "As far as I am concerned, the president knows who ordered the murder, those who decided to kill Chokri."

Belaid's relatives have dismissed the Tunisian government's assertion that radical Salafist Muslims carried out Belaid's murder, insisting instead that Ennahda was responsible, a claim the party strongly denies.

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