Thursday's killing of Tunisian opposition politician Chokri Belaid outside his home must prompt a thorough, independent and impartial investigation by the Tunisian authorities, Amnesty International has said.
Belaid, a leading figure of the leftist opposition in Tunisia, was shot in the neck and head as he was leaving his home in Tunis, the global human rights watchdog said in a press statement obtained by PANA here Thursday.
The Secretary General of the Democratic Patriots party and a vocal critic of the government, he had denounced political violence and called for democratic values to be upheld in Tunisia.
It is the first time that such a killing has taken place in Tunisia. So far, no one has claimed responsibility.
Belaid’s death has occurred in a context of increasing polarisation between political parties in Tunisia. Members of the opposition have reported they are targeted in attacks by individuals and that the authorities are not doing enough to protect them, the watchdog said.
In recent months, there have been a number of incidents of violence against political activists, premises of political parties and gatherings, including a meeting which Belaid attended as recently as last Saturday. He had reportedly been receiving threats.
“The Tunisian authorities should be under no illusion that they can condemn the killing and move on. Only a fully independent and transparent investigation can help shed light on the circumstances of the killing of Chokri Belaid,' said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.
“Two years after the ousting of former President Ben Ali, there is an increasing mistrust in the institutions that are supposed to protect human rights and Tunisians will not be satisfied with a sham investigation,” said the official.
It said the killing must serve as a wake-up call to the authorities, and that it is their duty to protect all individuals, including those who criticise the government or Tunisia’s leading Ennahda party, from violence.