Tunisia: 3 Suspects Sentenced to Jail for Aiding Terrorist Family Member

Wednesday, 22 May, 2019 - 10:45 -

Tunisia: 3 Suspects Sentenced to Jail for Aiding Terrorist Family Member

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Police officers in downtown Tunis. Reuters file photo
Tunis - Mongi Saidani
A Tunisian court on Tuesday convicted three female suspects who are the relatives of the perpetrator of a terror attack in the country’s southeastern city of Ben Guerdane.

The three convicts are the mother, wife and cousin and face charges of aiding the attacker. Taking into consideration case realities and the defendants aiding investigations, the court ruling sentenced the mother to two years in jail whilst it gave each of the wife and cousin six months.

According to the case, the mother received a call from her son confirming that he was stuck in the Tunisian desert and that he was in need of help. The mother, in turn, informed the wife and cousin of the call.

All three then drove to the desert in search of the terrorist, who appears to have been abandoned by comrades and first disappeared during the fierce 2016 clashes between security forces and terror networks in Ben Guerdane, which lies on the border with neighboring Libya.

During interrogation, the defendants denied having anything to do with the terrorist’s actions or even adopting extremist ideology. They confirmed that they were not aware of their affiliation with the terrorist organizations and that they sought assisting them while under the impression that they went to work in neighboring Libya to earn an honest living.

The three, however, after learning of their relative’s crimes, aided competent security forces that were hunting down the criminal for arrest.

One of the attacks the terrorist is believed to have taken part was the March 7, 2016 Ben Guerdane clashes pitting armed militias and security personnel. The fighting, which lasted for several days, left 55 militants and 20 soldiers, policemen and civilians dead.

The terror ring, at the time, had planned to take over military barracks, self-declare a “caliphate” and organize larger terrorist attacks with the goal of controlling more Tunisian cities.

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