Tunisia’s Justice Ministry has officially requested to launch a probe into the death of former president Beji Caid Essebsi, the official spokesman for the country’s court of appeals said.
Caid Essebsi died in a military hospital in Tunis on July 25, 2019 at the age of 92.
Habib Tarkhani, spokesman for the Tunisian court of appeals, said the attorney general at the appeals court has already authorized officials at the Court of First Instance in Tunis to open an investigation into the circumstances of the president’s death.
The investigation comes following a statement by Mohamed Hentati, a Tunisian religious preacher, who said on a television program that Essebsi was killed.
The defense ministry could not reveal the forensic report and determine the true cause of death, Hentati stressed, noting that he has information about this “suspicious” death.
The preacher implicitly accused Ennahda movement of killing the late president, describing it in more than one radio and television interviews as a “fatal germ.”
Only a few days before his death, Essebsi presided a National Security Council session, during which he addressed the accusations leveled against Ennahda of having a secret apparatus that is operating in parallel with the state.
Shortly after the session, his health deteriorated, leading to his death.
Ennahda has always denied having a secret security apparatus.
Essebsi was hospitalized late June and spent a week in hospital after suffering a “severe health crisis.”
He only appeared twice after leaving the hospital on July 1.
In this context, local media sources said authorities will most likely open the late president’s grave “to conduct the necessary tests and determine the actual causes of death.”
The sources suggest he was poisoned and accused complicit parties inside the presidential palace of killing Essebsi.
Meanwhile, political activists called on the president and the prime minister to secure Essebsi’s grave until completing the course of investigation.