20 Tunisian Islamists get suspended sentences for storming US embassy
A curious idea of justice, have these Islamists.
TWENTY people have received a two-year suspended prison sentence for their part in a deadly attack on the US embassy in Tunisia last year, their lawyer said.
"They all got a two-year suspended sentence," said lawyer Anouar Ouled Ali.
"We will see with their families if they want to appeal. If they want to, we will do it," he added.
The verdict, which was not made public, came after only half a day, an unusually short trial in the north African country.
Hundreds of angry Islamist protesters attacked the US mission in Tunis on September 14 after an American-made film mocking their religion was published on the Internet.
Four of the assailants were killed and dozens wounded in the violence, which saw protesters storm the embassy and torch a neighbouring American school.
Questioned individually by the judge, the accused denied having taken part in the protest or attacking the embassy and the police.
unisian judicial rulings are not usually announced in court.
Defence lawyers strongly criticised the trial and the main charges, including premeditated attacks organised by an armed gang, with sentences ranging from five years in jail to possible death penalties.
No executions have been carried out in Tunisia since 1991 and death sentences are rarely pronounced.
"These protests were part of a spontaneous reaction throughout the (Muslim) world against attacks on our sacred symbols," said one of the defence lawyers, Slah Barakati.
He demanded that charges be dropped, saying that the trial was a result of the Tunisian judiciary bowing to pressure from the West.
"These Tunisians are in court to please the United States and the European Union," Barakati told the judge.
The defense lawyer is correct. No one would have gone on trial unless the US had insisted that someone be punished for the small matter of violating our sovereignty when the defendants trashed our embassy. What do you think the reaction would be if Americans trashed the Tunisian embassy in Washington in response to this outrage?
More miracles courtesy of the Arab Spring. Can't wait to see what the next one will be.