Four people sentenced to death in Tunisia for murdering politician Chokri Belaid

A Tunisian court has sentenced four people to death and two to life imprisonment for their role in the 2013 murder of prominent political leader Chokri Belaid.

He was found shot to death in his car in the capital Tunis, sparking outrage.

The left-wing politician was a fierce critic of the then-ruling Islamist Ennahda party.

He claimed he was turning a blind eye to the violence being perpetrated by extremists against secularists.

Tunisia imposes death sentences for the most serious crimes, but there has been no execution since 1990. Instead, the sentence is usually commuted to life imprisonment.

A total of 23 people have been charged in connection with Belide’s murder.

“Justice has been served,” prosecutor Aymen Chiba said after the six sentences handed down on Wednesday morning.

The verdict was announced live on state television after 15 hours of deliberation, AFP news agency reported.

Jihadists pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for Belaid’s assassination and that of fellow left-wing rebel Mohamed Brahmi six months later.

The killings sparked mass demonstrations by enraged Tunisians two years after the pro-democracy Arab Spring uprisings began in the country and spread to Maghreb countries and other parts of the Middle East.

Tunisia is currently ruled by President Kais Saied, who has himself been branded a dictator after a series of power grabs, including dissolving the country’s main legal entities, dismissing the prime minister, and proroguing parliament.

Check out more Tunisia coverage from the BBC:

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