Tunisians protest light verdicts for ex-officials

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Tunisians have held a demonstration in the capital against reduced sentences for security officials convicted of killing protesters during the 2011 revolution.

Hundreds of Tunisians gathered on National Constituent Assembly (NCA) headquarters in Tunis on Wednesday to protest reduced sentences handed down against former security officials.

Families of those killed and injured during the popular uprising against former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali marched from the headquarters of the military court, chanting slogans against the military, the judiciary and the country’s political elite.

Rights lawyers and civil society activists also participated in the event.

Earlier this week, the military court upheld a life sentence issued earlier in absentia against Ben Ali. However, it delivered light jail sentences to a number of former high-profile officials, including the former head of the presidential guard, Ali al-Seryati, while acquitting a number of others.

Seryati is accused of ordering violent suppression of protests in 2011 prior to Ben Ali’s ouster.

The verdicts by the military court also sparked uproar among Tunisian lawmakers, who condemned the verdicts as “too lenient.”

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki called for appealing the reduced sentences and acquittals on April 15. He said the court sentences had “failed to meet the minimum requirements of the families of the martyrs and the injured.”

Ben Ali fled Tunisia in the aftermath of the country’s revolution and currently lives in exile in Saudi Arabia with his wife.

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