26 Jul 2013

Tunisian opposition figure shot dead

6:12 am on 26 July 2013

A leading opposition figure and critic of Tunisia's ruling Islamists has been shot dead outside his home near the capital, in the second such assassination this year.

The killing of Mohamed Brahmi by unknown gunmen sparked angry street protests in central Tunis and his birthplace of Sidi Bouzid where he served as MP.

The interior ministry, cited by TAP news agency, said the 58-year-old was assassinated as he left home. State television said Mr Brahmi was struck by 11 bullets fired from point-blank range.

The February assassination of Chokri Belaid, another opposition figure, in front of his home sparked a political crisis in Tunisia and charges of government involvement, AFP reports.

Mr Brahmiwas elected MP for Sidi Bouzid, birthplace of the 2011 revolution which toppled president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

On 7 July, he resigned from his post as general secretary of the Popular Movement, which he founded, protesting that it had been infiltrated by Islamists.

French President Francois Hollande, whose country was the pre-independence colonial power in Tunisia, strongly condemned Brahmi's killing and called on the country to unite behind its post-revolutionary democratic transition.