Belaid's widow asks Tunisia government to protect her family

Reuters , Sunday 10 Feb 2013

Widow of assassinated politician Shokri Belaid asks Tunisian government for official protection for her family, says will hold interior ministry responsible if attack on family takes place

Besma Khlifi, the wife of slain Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid, carries their daughter, Neyrouz, as they prepare to leave the father's house prior to his funeral in the suburb of Tunis, Friday, Feb. 8,2013. (AP Photo)

The widow of assassinated politician Shokri Belaid resorted to Tunisian government for official protection

"After the killing of Shokri I am asking the Ministry of the Interior to provide official protection to me I and my daughters ... If any attack happens to the family, I will accuse the Ministry of Interior officially," Basma Belaid said On television.

Belaid's killing by an unidentified gunman on Wednesday -- Tunisia's first such political assassination in decades -- has shaken a nation still seeking stability after the overthrow of veteran strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011.

Belaid's family has accused the ruling Islamist party Ennahda of responsibility for his killing. The party denies any hand in it. ''We intend to begin judicial action to sue all those who accuse Mr Rached Ghannouchi, head of the Ennahda party, be they politicians or journalists who are exploiting the blood of the deceased for narrow political ends at the expense of the truth,'' Rached Gannouchi, the head of Ennahda, said in a statement on Saturday.

Tunisia's political transition had been more peaceful than those in other Arab nations such as Egypt and Libya, but tensions are running high between Islamists elected to power and liberals who fear the loss of hard-won freedoms.

Nejib Chebbi, leader of the Republican secular party, said that the Tunisian president provided him with official protection after he received death threats a few weeks ago. Secularists fear that the assassination of Belaid could prompt other copycat killings in Tunisia.

Belaid's funeral on Friday drew the biggest crowds seen on Tunisia's streets since the overthrow of veteran strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011.

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