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Tunisia marks anniversary of Belaid murder

Twelve months after the assassination of Chokri Belaid, his family still want to know what happened.

Last updated: 06 Feb 2014 10:06
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Chokri Belaid's relatives said they wanted his killer to be tried, not killed [EPA]

Tunisians are marking on Thursday the assassination of opposition politician Chokri Belaid, whose family still want to know what happened a year after his death, despite the alleged assassin being shot dead this week.

The charismatic leftist and virulent critic of the Islamist party Ennahda, then in power, was gunned down outside his Tunis home on February 6, 2013.

The assassination was the first of two by suspected jihadists, and came amid the violence rocking the country, and the region, since the 2011 revolution that toppled a decades-old dictatorship and touched off the Arab Spring.

It triggered massive anti-government protests and a political crisis from which Tunisia has only recently started to emerge, with the adoption of a consensus constitution last month.

The authorities blamed the killing on members of Ansar al-Sharia, a Salafist group suspected of links to Al-Qaeda that has since been designated a terrorist organisation but says it rejects violence.

On Tuesday, Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou announced that Kamel Gadhgadhi, Belaid's alleged assassin, was among seven suspects killed during a 20-hour siege of a house in the Raoued district of the capital.

"[It is] the best present that we could give Tunisians" on the first anniversary of Belaid's murder, said Ben Jeddou.

But the family of the slain politician, which blamed the death on the Ennahda party, spurned the minister's comments.

"He can keep this present; killing a man is not a present," Belaid's brother, Abdelmajid, told the AFP news agency.

"We didn't want Gadhgadhi to be killed and we are certainly not celebrating his death... We wanted him to be fairly tried," he said.

"We want to know the whole truth. Gadhgadhi was not alone. There are other parties implicated and we hope they will be captured so that the truth is revealed."

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