Tu­nisia tack­les the rise of ex­trem­ism

CityPress - - News - – Staff re­porter

Some of the rad­i­cal mea­sures that Tu­nisia is putting in place to com­bat ex­trem­ism fol­low­ing a deadly terror at­tack on its beaches last month and another at­tack on a mu­seum ear­lier in the year in­clude death sen­tences for those found guilty of terror, and de­tain­ing terror sus­pects for up to 15 days with­out ac­cess to a lawyer.

The Tu­nisian Par­lia­ment, Al Jazeera re­ported, has voted in favour of im­ple­ment­ing new an­titer­ror laws af­ter the coun­try was shocked by an at­tack that saw scores of Bri­tish tourists killed by a lone gun­man in Sousse.

The pres­i­dent of the Tu­nisian par­lia­men­tary assem­bly, Mo­hamed En­naceur, re­port­edly called the pass­ing of the law a “his­toric” mo­ment, say­ing it would “re­as­sure” the na­tion’s cit­i­zens.

Thirty-seven Euro­pean tourists were killed in the coastal re­sort city of Sousse in June when a gun­man opened fire with a weapon he had hid­den un­der an um­brella.

The gun­man, a stu­dent who was later found to have un­der­gone train­ing by ex­trem­ist group the Is­lamic State, was later shot dead by the po­lice.

In March, at least 19 peo­ple, 17 of whom were tourists, were killed in the Bardo Na­tional Mu­seum in cen­tral Tu­nis. Pol­ish, Ja­panese, Ital­ian, Aus­tralian, French, Span­ish and Colom­bian tourists were said to be among those who were killed dur­ing the mu­seum at­tack. These acts of ex­trem­ism are threat­en­ing the sta­tus of Tu­nisia as a pop­u­lar tourist mar­ket, but now the coun­try is fight­ing back, with the aim of tack­ling rad­i­cal groups and in­di­vid­u­als who plot and ex­e­cute such at­tacks.

The north African coun­try de­clared a state of emer­gency af­ter the beach at­tacks, with Pres­i­dent Beji Caid Essebsi declar­ing that it was in a “state of war”.

But ac­cord­ing to the BBC, ad­vo­cacy groups are warn­ing that the law is too dra­co­nian.

The groups say the def­i­ni­tion of ter­ror­ist crimes in the leg­is­la­tion is too vague and fails to safe­guard the rights of de­fen­dants.

Crit­ics have also con­demned the re­turn of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment as en­vis­aged by the law af­ter a lengthy mora­to­rium on ex­e­cu­tions.

A cor­re­spon­dent for Al Jazeera told BBC: “The [Tu­nisian] gov­ern­ment says with the new bill, it will be able to tackle the rise of vi­o­lence, but it also says it needs fi­nan­cial and mil­i­tary sup­port from the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity so it can de­feat armed groups.”

Mean­while, CNN re­ports that Tur­key had ar­rested nearly 600 sus­pects as it in­ten­si­fied airstrikes on Is­lamic State mil­i­tary tar­gets along the bor­der with Syria. The strikes also tar­geted the Kur­dis­tan Worker’s Party (PKK) a day af­ter Is­lamic State mil­i­tants killed a Turk­ish soldier in bor­der clashes.

The airstrikes tar­geted PKK mil­i­tants in shel­ters, de­pots and caves around moun­tain­ous ar­eas near the Iraq bor­der.

“This is a pack­age deal for the Turks,” coun­tert­er­ror­ism ex­pert Philip Mudd told CNN.

The US reached an agree­ment with Tur­key to in­crease US and coali­tion ac­cess to Turk­ish air bases. The deal pro­vides the US mil­i­tary with cru­cial ac­cess from Tur­key into Syria and Iraq.

PHOTO: GETTY IM­AGES

AN­TITER­ROR­ISM Mo­hamed En­naceur

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