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Chokri Belaid, a prominent Tunisian opposition leader, was murdered this week. (Read the Washington Post account here.) One more name is added to the list of Tunisia’s democrats who have given their lives for their country and principles. The millions of Tunisians who are troubled by today’s assassination and those tens of thousands who have peaceably assembled to protest this crime are exercising their rights in the best tradition of the revolution. Chokri Belaid would surely have been with them, if he weren’t the one being mourned.
Chokri was a well-known human rights activist, lawyer and the Secretary General of the Democratic Patriots Party. I had the chance to meet him briefly in Tunis before the December 2011 parliamentary elections, and he was brimming with optimism for the post-Arab Spring Tunisia.
Tunisian authorities will need to ensure that a thorough investigation is conducted and justice is served. If post-revolutionary Tunisia is to live up to its potential, there must be no room for political murder. The new Tunisian Government will be under extreme pressure from many quarters, and they must allow the investigators, prosecutors and judges to pursue this case without political interference. Let’s hope that Chokri is the last Tunisian to fall victim to political violence.
To hear more stories about the people risking their lives in the pursuit of Tunisian democracy, visit Abdel Aziz Belkhodja, Abdel Basset Ben Hassen, Sihem Bensedrine, and Zied Mhirsi at the Freedom Collection.
This post was written by Kent Patton, Blog Editor of the Freedom Collection.
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