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Bardo museum attack 'accomplices' go on trial

A trial has opened in Tunisia over a terror attack which claimed the lives of 21 foreign tourists and a police officer.

British solicitor Sally Adey was among those shot dead by two Islamist gunmen at the Bardo National Museum, Tunis, in March 2015 – just three months before 30 Britons were killed in the Sousse beach attack.

The museum attackers were gunned down by police but 24 people who are alleged to have assisted the planning of the atrocity have gone on trial.

A dozen defendants are charged with voluntary homicide with premeditation and could face death sentences if convicted.

Three of the accused were not present in court, while another 30 are being tried in absentia.

Thirty Britons died in the terror attack on 26 June, 2015
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30 Britons were killed in the Sousse beach attack

A British diplomat attended the hearing, during which lawyers for some of the defendants asked for a delay to the proceedings.

Following the attack, Tunisian security services were criticised for releasing eight suspects, including a man they said was the head of the cell responsible.

In a report, investigating judge Bachir Akremi said confessions were obtained by torture and some accusations against the suspects were “imaginary”.

Lawyers for victims’ families said the investigation left “several dark areas”, with one saying he would boycott the trial as it “would not offer independent justice”.

Bulletholes cover a window in the Bardo after the two gunmen were gunned down
Image:
Bulletholes cover a window in the Bardo after the two gunmen were gunned down

Meanwhile, lawyer Samir Ben Amor, who is representing one of the defendants, claimed that if police “had done their job correctly from the start” the attack in Sousse could have been avoided.

He said: “Numerous people among those who prepared and planned it are the same ones implicated in the Bardo attack.”

In May, 33 suspects went on trial over the Sousse beach attack.

Six policemen were accused of failing to assist a person in danger, while prosecutors said the rest were charged with “terrorism offences, murder and conspiracy against the security of the state”.

The trial was suspended until 3 October to allow lawyers for the defendants more time to read their clients’ files.

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