Tunisia torture charges fake, says ex-minister

2012-03-30 21:07
Tunis - Torture charges against former Tunisian interior minister Abdallah Kallel are fabricated, his daughter and lawyers said on Friday ahead of an expected verdict.

"He is the victim of a political conspiracy and vendetta," Leila Kallel told AFP at the trial, where several other high-ranking officials from ousted dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali's regime also appeared.

Ben Ali himself faces charges in the same case but he is being tried in absentia as he currently lives in Saudi Arabia, where he has been exiled since a popular uprising forced him to flee in January 2011.

Kallel, who had several spells as defence and interior minister between 1989 and 2001, is accused of torturing senior army officers arrested in 1991 over a suspected coup plot.

Defence lawyers argued on Friday that the accusations against Kallel were baseless and charged that the trial was politically motivated.

"There is no evidence. The case touches on what was a state security issue in 1991 and Ben Ali would not allow anyone close," lawyer Abeda Kefi said.

The Tunis military appeals court is expected to issue a verdict on Friday.

The case is known as the "Bakaret Essahel affair", named after a village 45km south of the capital Tunis where officers were accused of holding secret meetings in 1991 with a view to toppling Ben Ali.

They were handed over to the interior ministry by their superior and are alleged to have been severely tortured in cells of the state security services.

Most leading figures in Ben Ali's regime either fled or were arrested after last year's uprising and Tunisia is now governed by a coalition of former opposition parties.
Read more on:    north africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.