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Second hunger striker dies in Tunisia

By Ken Hanly     Nov 19, 2012 in World
Tunis - A second prisoner in Tunisia, who had been on a hunger strike, died from complications of his hunger strike in an intensive care unit. Mohammed Bakhti was a prominent member of the conservative Islamic Salafi movement.
Bakhti had been on his hunger strike for two months. Bachir al-Gholi another hunger striker died last Thursday from a heart attack brought on by the hunger strike. Both men had claimed that they were innocent of any wrongdoing in the assault on the U.S. Embassy in Tunis on Sept. 14. The lawyer for the two men said that the authorities should have responded more quickly to the grave conditions of both men.
Since the fall of the secular rule of Ben Ali in January of 2011, conservative Islamic movements have flourished in Tunisia. Salafists have attacked art galleries and other cultural institutions they believe have insulted Islam, and they participated in an assault on the U..S. Embassy over the U.S. produced film that insulted the Prophet Muhammad. The Tunisian security forces killed four people in the incident and an American school was destroyed.
Over 400 suspects were rounded up after the attack and 225 remain in custody. Justice Minister Biri said that the death of Gholi would be investigated. He criticized the use of the hunger strike as a means of protest.
Lawyers for those imprisoned claimed that almost 200 of those imprisoned were on a hunger strike. The lawyers claim that others are now in danger as well. Three of the hunger strikers were hospitalized last weekend and one required a stomach operation before being returned to prison. The justice ministry has not commented on the lawyers' remarks but confirmed earlier that 56 of the prisoners were on a hunger strike. Some had gone without food for more than a month.
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