Tunisia’s Criminal Court on terrorism cases in the capital’s Court of Appeal has sentenced 31 people to death over the 2014 terrorist attack on the house of former Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou.
Among the 31 suspects are Seifallah Ben Hassine, known as Abu Ayyad, an associate of late al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and founder of the militant group Ansar al-Sharia. He is also the main suspect in a series of terrorist acts, including the assassination of Tunisian leftist Chokri Belaid and MP Mohamed el-Brahmi.
The 31 suspects, who include Algerians as well as Tunisians, were sentenced in absentia. Some of them are reportedly dead.
Algerian Khalid al-Shayeb, known as Luqman Abu Sakhr, was among them. He was allegedly killed in 2015 during armed clashes in the Gafsa region of southwestern Tunisia.
The court also sentenced one defendant to three years in prison, seven others to ten years, while a number of other suspects received 20-year or life sentences.
In addition, the Tunisian judiciary acquitted seven defendants of terrorism charges.
In May 2014, a terrorist group attacked Ben Jeddou's house in Kasserine, killing four Tunisian security agents and injuring several others.
In other news, 19 letters containing potentially deadly toxins addressed to prominent journalists, politicians and trade unionists, have been intercepted by police at the central Post Office in Tunis and taken for testing.
The National Unit of Investigation for Terrorist Affairs and Organized Crime revealed that the toxic substance was made in Tunisia inside a laboratory.
The Ministry of Interior indicated that it is monitoring the movements of the terrorist cells that plotted the attack, especially that the deadly poison was made with local Tunisian expertise and required huge financial support.