Tunisia jails leader of controversial pro-Islamist group

AFP , Friday 28 Mar 2014

A leader of a controversial pro-Islamist militia blamed for several violent incidents in Tunisia has been jailed for 14 months for inciting violence and for verbal attacks, a judicial source said Friday.

"The court in Tunis sentenced Imed Dghij to eight months for inciting violence and six months for attacking others on social networks," the source told AFP.

Dghij, a senior figure with the League for the Protection of the Revolution (LPR), was arrested at the end of February, after threatening the Tunisian authorities in a video posted on the Internet.

"We will not give ourselves up. We will win, and we will die only after we've finished with you, is that clear?" said Dghij, who heads the league's branch in Kram, a suburb of the capital.

"Shedding the blood of the security forces" was a legitimate act, he added.

Formed in the aftermath of the January 2011 uprising, supposedly to safeguard the revolution, the LPR has been repeatedly accused of resorting to violence to intimidate its critics, and is seen by many as a ruthless militia with links to the main Islamist party Ennahda.

Its members are suspected of lynching a member of secular party Nidaa Tounes in the southern city of Tataouine in 2012, and of attacking the headquarters of the main UGTT workers union later that year

Since then, the UGTT and opponents of Ennahda, which was forced to hand power to a interim administration of independents in January to end a major political crisis, have demanded the dissolution of the different sections of the LPR.

Following the appointment of Mehdi Jomaa's new technocratic government, the judiciary has launched several inquiries into these groups, despite the opposition of Ennahda, which remains Tunisia's largest political party.

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