Tunisian Court Delivers Verdicts in Chokri Belaid Assassination

A Tunisian court sentenced four people to death and two to life in prison for their roles in the 2013 murder of prominent left-wing politician Chokri Belaid. Belaid, leader of the Popular Front coalition, was shot outside his home in Tunis.

This landmark case, reopened last month, involved 23 defendants. Five were acquitted, while others received sentences ranging from two to 120 years. The dismissals reportedly aimed to avoid duplicate punishments.

Belaid’s assassination, the first of its kind in decades for Tunisia, sparked national outrage and led to the resignation of the prime minister. He was a vocal critic of Ennahda, the Islamist party that came to power after the Arab Spring. His supporters accused Ennahda of being too lenient towards extremists.

The court sentenced members of Ansar al-Sharia, an al-Qaeda-linked group, for their involvement. These included leaders of the group’s military and intelligence wings. Belaid’s assassination, along with the later killing of another politician, plunged Tunisia into political crisis during its democratic transition.