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Tunisia to retry senior security officials from Ben Ali regime

The Tunisian judiciary recently decided to try senior security officials from the Ben Ali regime in a case relating to the torture and abuse of revolutionaries during the 2011 Jasmine Revolution, which overthrew the ousted President Zinedine Ben Ali.

Lawyer Mounir Ben Saleha told AFP that the court of cassation overturned previous court rulings on Wednesday. Saleha described the court’s decision as “not surprising and we will deal with the outcomes”.

“The case will be redirected to the Military Court of Appeals in Tunisia,” Saleha continued.

Lawyer Leila Haddad, who has come to the defence of the families of the revolution’s victims called the decision to overturn the court’s previous rulings as “a victory for the martyrs and their families because the initial ruling of the military court was quite unfair.”

On 12 April 2014, the Military Court of Appeals in Tunisia issued rulings in three cases involving the deaths of about 70 people and events that wounded about 800 others in Tunis, Sfax, Thala and Kasserine during the days of the 2011 revolution. The court initially reduced the number of sanctions against security officials who committed violations against revolutionaries following the ouster of Ben Ali.

It initially sentenced each of the former government’s officials to three years in prison.

The sentences were reduced to release many of the defendants, including Interior Minister Rafik Haj Kassem, General Ali Aseraati, Jalal Boudruiqa and Lotfi Zouari.

On 14 April 2014, the National Constituent Assembly issued a statement that the court rulings left sent shock waves through the hearts of Tunisians and that the court’s actions did not live up to the Tunisian people’s aspirations of the conduct of a fair trial.

The International Federation of Human Rights expressed its belief that the court failed to get rid of its “extreme politicisation”. According to a provisional toll issued by the High Commission for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, 321 people were killed and 3,727 injured during the Tunisian Revolution.

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