Tunisia: Sentences in Chokri Belaid Case Leave Some Unsatisfied

by | Mar 27, 2024 | Legal, Political, Tunisia


On 27 March 2024, a Tunisian prosecutor confirmed that six people had been charged in the 2013 assassination of political opposition leader Chokri Belaid, with four receiving the death penalty. The sentences bring the total number of individuals sentenced in Belaid’s killing to 23.

The Islamist political party, Ennahdha, issued a statement following the announcement of the sentences, framing the events as an exoneration of the party and the party’s imprisoned leader, Rached Ghannouchi. Ennahdha’s role in Belaid’s killing has long been a source of tension since the days following the events in 2013. Various parties have repeatedly accused both domestic and foreign actors of having a role in his death.

Meanwhile, commentators continued to raise concerns about the long-debated issue of sponsorship and facilitation of the attack. The sentences issued have been for individuals more directly tied to the attack that killed Belaid, leaving many Tunisians concerned about the political, ideological and financial infrastructure that planned and directed the attack.

A Tunisian organization that lobbies against the use of the death penalty issued a statement warning about the dangers of using the Chokri Belaid case to normalize the use of the death penalty in Tunisia.


While successfully demonstrating progress on the Chokri Belaid case, the recent verdicts have seemingly failed to satisfy at least some of the Tunisian populace who have long been concerned about the organizations and personalities that were behind the killing.

The Ennahdha party, long in the crosshairs of many seeking justice for Belaid’s death, was quick to assert that the case was now closed and proved the party’s innocence. However, concerns remain that the legal case to this point has focused on the low-level operatives involved in carrying out the attack.

The Belaid case is likely to continue to serve as a rallying cry for those in Tunisia still interested to see a more effective justice system.


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