Tunisia president backs hanging amid uproar over woman's murder

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Kais Saied, president of Tunisia. (Fethi Belaid, AFP)
Kais Saied, president of Tunisia. (Fethi Belaid, AFP)

Tunisia's President Kais Saied has said he backs capital punishment, after public outrage over a woman's murder sparked calls for executions to restart following a three-decade-long pause.

"Anyone who kills a person for no reason deserves the death penalty," Saied told the nation's security council late Monday, according to a video posted by the presidency.

Tunisia carried out its last hanging in 1991, according to Amnesty International, but death by hanging remains on the statue books of the North African nation.

Convicts have regularly been handed death sentences in recent years - mainly in trials related to national security - but a moratorium on carrying out the punishment has been in place.

"Each society has its choices, we have our principles, and the text is there," Saied added.

A recent murder revived the debate on the death penalty.

The body of a 29-year-old woman, who had vanished after leaving work, was discovered last week near a highway that runs from the capital Tunis to the suburb of Marsa.

A man was swiftly arrested and confessed to killing her and stealing her phone, according to the interior ministry.

The justice ministry said that the suspect had previously been accused in an earlier murder case that was dismissed, without giving further details.

"If it is proven that he has killed one or more people, I don't think the solution is ... not to apply the death penalty," Saied added.

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