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Tunisia: Protest calls for prosecution of security forces involved in tragic drowning case

People stage a protest urging that the killers of Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi, who were killed in the armed attacks, be brought to justice, near the house of Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Ennahda Islamic Movement in Tunis, Tunisia, 12 February 2022 [Yassine Gaidi / Anadolu Agency]
People stage a protest urging that the killers of Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi, who were killed in the armed attacks, be brought to justice, near the house of Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Ennahda Islamic Movement in Tunis, Tunisia, 12 February 2022 [Yassine Gaidi / Anadolu Agency]

On Thursday, civil and human rights activists carried out a protest in front of Ben Arous Court, south of Tunis, calling for prosecution of security forces related to the case of drowning a fan of Club Africain.

Today, the Court held a hearing for 14 security defendants in a case, which occurred on 31 March, 2018, when Omar Al-Obeidi,18, a fan of Club Africain, drowned in Oued Meliane (south of the capital).

The defence team accuses the police of forcing Al-Obeidi to jump in the valley after a football match, which was denied by authorities at that time.

Hundreds of football clubs' fans (Ultras) participated in the protest. They chanted slogans against "impunity", calling for "justice and the prosecution of the involved security members," according to the Anadolu Agency's correspondent.

During the protest, Noureddine Al-Obeidi (the victim's father) told Anadolu Agency that "the family is waiting for justice to be done, and that the perpetrators are punished, after hearings over the past four years, which did not bring anything new."

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"When security forces are charged, the truth is concealed," noting that "the reports of the forensic medicine confirm that my son was subjected to violence before he was forced to jump into the valley," the father added.

He continued: "Our demand is to end the concealment of the perpetrators and to punish them in order to relieve the family's grief."

For his part, Al-Toumi bin Farhat, the Defence Attorney for Al-Obeidi, told Anadolu Agency: "In today's session (which is the third in this case since the occurrence of the incident), the 14 defendants were heard, then they said the same narration, and denied all charges."

"Usually, after the end of the hearing, a new date is set to consider the case (he did not specify it)." Bin Farhat added.

"It is a case of public opinion; we noticed fallacies in the course of investigation, beginning with the deception of the security inspection file, and the search for an exit and escape by the Ministry of the Interior to protect its members from punishment, besides its adoption of the lowest penalties," Bin Farhat said.

"We uphold the re-hearing of the charged security members (which happened today while awaiting the declaration of theverdict), where we hope that these manoeuvres will end," Bin Farhat continued.

According to the defence team, the facts of the case started when security forces pursued Al-Obeidi from the Olympic Stadium in Rades to Oued Meliane, after confrontations between Club Africain fans and the security forces, which resulted in forcing him to jump into the torrential waters of the valley, which was denied by authorities.

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