Tripoli, 4 October 2013,
By Houda Mzioudet:
Abdulhakim Belhaj, head of the Nation Party, has denied that he was involved in the assassination . . .[restrict]of Tunisian leftist politician Chokri Belaid, who was killed on 6 February 2013, allegedly by hardline Islamists. Speaking yesterday to Tunisian news website Tunisia News, he said that he had never interfered in the internal affairs of Tunisia although he did say that he considered the security of Tunisia as closely linked to that of Libya. He said he would go to court to clear his name.
Allegations that he was involved came after the Chokri Belaid defence committee spokesman, Taieb Laaghili, claimed at a press conference that Ansar Al Sharia was linked to Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) led by Belhaj and had been involved in political assassinations in Tunisia. Laaghili also claimed that the security authorities in Tunisia had refused to divulge the names of those involved because they were linked to Tunisia’s ruling Ennahdha party, itself linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Laaghili said that the more there were investigations and enquiries into the assassination of Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi, the more political pressure was being exercised.
Chokri Belaid was assassinated on 6 February this year, triggering mass protests in Tunisia calling for the resignation of the Ennahdha-led government. On 25 July, Mohamed Brahmi, the Popular Front member of the Tunisian Constituent Assembly was also assassinated in front of his house.
Tunisian opposition parties have been putting pressure the Ennahdha-led government to step down and form a caretaker government.
Belhaj has said that he never knew Belaid, and complained that the Tunisian media had never been in touch with him personally to his side of events.
Samir Dilou, Tunisia’s Minister of Human Rights and Transitional Justice, stated on Tunisian radio station Mosaique FM on 3 October that the documents presented by Laaghili were false.
However, Laaghili had stuck to his position, insisting that he was in possession of a document that implicated Belhaj in the assassination of Belaid. The document apparently alleged that Belhaj entered Tunisia illegally in order to prepare for terrorist acts. The document was obtained from the Tunisian General Directorate for Public Security, Laaghili declared.
A Tunisian embassy official in Tripoli told the Libya Herald that Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs would issue a statement about the developments.
Nasreddine Ben Hadid, a Tunisian journalist and activist told this paper that the documents presented by Taieb Laaghili had been discounted by the Tunisian Ministry of the Interior as fraudulent.
This evening Belhaj was on Tunisian private TV station TNN thanking former Tunisian chief of staff Rachid Ammar for having provided him with weapons during the Libyan Revolution and stating how he refused to bow down to Qaddafi’s bribes. [/restrict]