Tunisia museum attack trial adjourned to late October

2017-07-13 10:03
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Tunis - A newly-opened trial over a 2015 attack at the Bardo museum in Tunisia's capital that killed 21 foreign tourists and a policeman has been adjourned until October 31, court officials said on Wednesday.

Two gunmen opened fire at the National Bardo Museum in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group.

Some 22 detained suspects were in a Tunis court for Tuesday morning's first hearing, which a source close to the case said was a procedural session.

The source, asking not to be named, said four other suspects who were not under arrest had not been present and that authorities were seeking a further 30 fugitives in connection with the attack.

The identities of those on trial have not been disclosed.

Terrorist crimes 

The suspects are being tried for "terrorist crimes", according to the French Association for Victims of Terrorism and Imed Belkhamsa, a lawyer for victims of the attacks.

Four French tourists were among those killed.

Under a 2015 anti-terror law, the defendants could face the death sentence -- although Tunisia has had a moratorium on implementing capital punishment since 1991.

Since its revolution in 2011, Tunisia has faced a series of jihadist attacks that have also claimed the lives of more than 100 soldiers and police.

A month after the Bardo shootings, in which police gunned down the assailants, 38 foreign holidaymakers including 30 Britons were killed in a gun and grenade attack on a beach resort near the city of Sousse.

That November, a suicide bombing in the capital killed 12 members of the presidential guard.

ISIS claimed all three attacks.

'Several dark areas' 

Shortly after the Bardo attack, Tunisian authorities arrested 20 people and announced they had dismantled "around 80% of the cell" responsible.

Months later, they released eight of the suspects, including a man they had said was the head of the cell.

French lawyers for victims and their families have said the Tunisian investigation into the Bardo carnage had left "several dark areas".

Some 26 people went on trial in May over the Sousse attack, including six security personnel accused of failing to assist people in danger.

The source close to the Bardo trial said lawyers had asked on Tuesday that the two judicial proceedings be merged into one, but their request was rejected.

Tunisia has remained under a state of emergency since the attack on the presidential guards.

Read more on:    tunisia  |  north africa

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