Tunisian police and protesters clash after death at police station

Policemen stand guard in Tunis. (AFP)
Updated 17 February 2019
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Tunisian police and protesters clash after death at police station

  • Tunisian activists say abuses by security forces have continued, albeit at a lower rate, since the 2011 revolution that overthrew the regime of President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali

TUNIS: Police in Tunisia fired tear gas on Saturday to disperse demonstrators who protested after a young man died inside a police station near the coastal resort of Hammamet, witnesses said.
The young man was arrested on Friday after a fight between groups of youths in the town of Barraket Essahel, 60 km (37 miles) southeast of the capital Tunis, according to locals. While it was not immediately clear how he died, demonstrators blamed the security forces.
In a statement, the Interior Ministry said the young man had fainted after reaching the police station and died despite officers’ efforts to revive him. It said a judge had ordered an investigation.
Police in Barraket Essahel were not immediately available to comment.
Tunisian activists say abuses by security forces have continued, albeit at a lower rate, since the 2011 revolution that overthrew the regime of President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.


UN expert held in Tunisia over ‘espionage’ freed on bail: sources

Updated 3 min 30 sec ago
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UN expert held in Tunisia over ‘espionage’ freed on bail: sources

TUNIS: A United Nations arms expert held in Tunisia since late March on espionage charges was released Tuesday on bail, the prosecution service said.
Moncef Kartas is a member of the UN panel of experts investigating allegations of violations of an arms embargo and other sanctions imposed on Libya.
The Tunisian-German dual national was detained on arrival in Tunis on March 26.
“The indictment division has decided to release Moncef Kartas on bail,” prosecution spokesman Sofiene Sliti said.
But Kartas was still being prosecuted for the “unofficial collection of information related to terrorism, which constitutes a dangerous crime,” he told AFP.
The investigation had uncovered equipment used to control civil and military air traffic and whose use “requires authorization,” he added.
Kartas’s defense team has said the charges are linked to the arms expert’s possession of a device allowing him to have access to data on flights of civil and commercial aircraft.
The device, an RTL-SDR, was used “only for monitoring air traffic to Libya, in order to identify flights that could be linked to violations of the arms embargo,” said his lawyer, Sarah Zaafrani.
Last week, the United Nations rejected Tunisia’s reasons for Kartas’s arrest and demanded charges be dropped and his immediate release.
It argued that, as a UN employee, Kartas was subject to diplomatic immunity, but Tunisia challenged this.
The UN panel investigating the alleged sanctions breaches has reported that arms and ammunition deliveries still reach warring parties in Libya — with the involvement of member states — despite the embargo.
Libya, which borders Tunisia, has seen an uptick in violence since military strongman Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive on April 4 to take the capital Tripoli from the UN-recognized government.
An arms embargo has been in force since Libya’s 2011 revolt that toppled its longtime ruler Muammar Qaddafi.