Trial of defendants in murder of Salah Ben Youssef begins on Thursday
15/05/2019 22:23, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) - The criminal chamber specialised in transitional justice at the Tunis Court of First Instance will begin on Thursday, May 16, the trial of those involved in the 1961 assassination of political leader Salah Ben Youssef. This trial comes after a process of investigation and testimony gathered by the Truth and Dignity Commission (IVD) which brought the case to justice, said defense lawyer Afif Ben Youssef at a press conference held on Wednesday.

"The indictment is proven for six people, namely Habib Bourguiba, Hassan Ben Abdelaziz El Ouerdani, Béchir Zarg Laayoun, Abdallah Ben Mabrouk El Ouerdani, Mohamed Ben Khlifa Mehrez, Hamida Binterbout," the defense lawyer said.

According to him, the investigation of the case also made it possible to prove the participation of the Tunisian State, the Presidency of the Tunisian Republic, the Presidential Guard, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the Embassy of Tunisia in Bern (Germany) in the assassination that occurred in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1961.

The investigation also made it possible, the lawyer adds, to establish Germany’s silence on this political crime, which did not prosecute the accused at the time of the events, despite the fact that the crime was committed on its territory and that the German authorities did indeed acknowledge Ben Youssef's murderers.

Afif Ben Youssef said that the charges were dropped due to the death of most of the defendants except Abdallah Ben Mabrouk El Ouerdani and Mohamed Ben Khlifa Mehrez, whose places of residence remain unknown, which prevented the IVD from hearing them. However, the proceedings were successful in hearing Hmaida Binterbout in the same case.

The Indictment Chamber charged Abdallah Ben Mabrouk El Ouerdani and Mohamed Ben Khlifa Mehrez with murder in the first degree. Hmaida Binterbout was charged with complicity in murder.

The press conference was held in the presence of Salah Ben Youssef's son, Lotfi Ben Youssef, who came specially from the United States to attend the trial. For him, the family asks that the Tunisian State acknowledge that it has committed a state crime and apologise.

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