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Daesh suspect attacks Tunisia judge with gavel during trial

Image of Tunisian Federal Courthouse [Citizen59/Wikipedia]
Tunisian Courthouse [Citizen59/Wikipedia]

The trial of a suspected Daesh militant descended into chaos this week after he attacked the presiding judge with his own gavel, AFP has reported.

Thirty-three-year-old Adel Ghandri appeared in a Tunis military court on Tuesday alongside several other suspects accused of attacking an army station in Ben Guerdane, near the border with Libya, where militants allegedly tried to secure territory on behalf of Daesh two years ago.

Ghandri is also suspected of playing a role in two other attacks in Tunisia that killed 60 people, mainly tourists, in 2015.

According to a statement from judicial officials, during the court session Ghandri ran at the judge, managed to seize his gavel and hit him on the head. It was not clear if the judge was injured in the incident.

READ: 2 terrorists killed by police in Tunisia’s Sidi Bouzid

Earlier this month, a Tunisian court jailed seven people for life for their involvement in the two deadly militant attacks in 2015, one on a museum in Tunis and the other on a hotel in a Mediterranean resort. The assault on the Bardo National Museum left 21 people dead, while 38 were killed in the beach resort of Sousse, some 150 kilometres south of the capital.

The twin massacres, which took place within three months of each other, devastated Tunisia’s economy and put the brakes on political reforms enacted after the Arab Spring.

Tunisia has taken back some 1,000 of its citizens who travelled to join so-called Islamic State in Iraq, Syria and Libya; however some 3,000 are still believed to be in combat zones. Of the returnees, some have been arrested and are awaiting prosecution but a larger number have manged to re-enter the country without being detected by authorities, government officials have warned.

Whilst Tunisia has shown itself willing to repatriate its nationals to face trial, European nations have wrestled with how to handle suspected militants and their families, as the militant group loses the last of its territory in Syria to the international coalition.

READ: US-backed SDF hand Daesh foreign fighters to Iraq

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