26 February 2013

Tunisia: Presumed Chokri Belaid's Murderer Identified - Interior Minister

Tunis — The presumed murderer of political activist and Popular Front leader Chokri Belaid has been identified and he is "now being hunted by police," Interior Minister Ali Larayedh announced.

Four suspects have been arrested, one of whom confessed that he had escorted the murderer to the scene of the crime and affirmed that no foreign side is involved in this case, Larayedh indicated at a news conference held on Tuesday.

The respondents "belong to a fundamentalist religious trend" and "come from inland regions," the Interior Minister further said, denying that any foreign side is involved in the affair and describing as inappropriate statements according to which Algerians would be behind the operation.

"As investigations stand now, no proof leads to this track," he asserted.

Perpetrators of the crime, aged 26 to 34 years, have explored the crime scene days earlier. One of them has a police record given his involvement in the forming of a gang that had assaulted people during the January 14 events.

"Investigation is underway to disclose all the details concerning this case," the Interior Minister assured.

"We cannot by any means unveil more details in view of the confidentiality of investigation," the Interior minister indicated, adding that all human and material resources have been made available to identify the criminals, including technical means provided by friendly countries.

With respect to the quantities of arms seized, the Minister said that " they have been stockpiled to commit acts of violence and attacks in Tunisia or to be handed over to other parties."

"The Interior Ministry will continue to combat the scourges of violence and terrorism and ensure the protection of citizens," Mr. Larayedh underscored, insiting that "the authority of the State is above parties and organisations."

In this connection, he urged organisations and political stakeholders to "join their efforts to ward off any internal and external dangers which could threaten the country."

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