Basma Khalfaoui, the widow of the slain Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid, has told FRANCE 24 that her late husband received many death threats before his assassination on February 6. She holds the ruling Islamist party responsible.
The death threats against Chokri Belaid – the Tunisian opposition leader whose assassination on Wednesday has plunged Tunisia back into a political crisis – had become ever more frequent before his death, according to family members.
“[The death threats] in no way deterred him from continuing his political activity and defend the principles to which he was deeply attached,” Belaid’s widow, Basma Khalfaoui, told FRANCE 24 on Thursday.
Belaid, a left-wing and secular leader, was a fierce critic of Tunisia's ruling Islamist Ennahda party, which has been in power since the October 2011 elections.
At her late husband's wake, Khalfaoui accused Salafists and people with links to Ennahda of murdering her husband.
“When we were out walking with our children, people approached to greet my husband and thank him for his courage and commitment to the country. But also to warn us of danger,” the widow said.
Thousands of people were expected to gather in the Tunisian capital of Tunis and across the country on Friday in protests set to coincide with Belaid’s funeral.
TUNISIAN OPPOSITION MOURNS SLAIN LEADER BELAID
Tunisian secular opposition leader Chokri Belaid was murdered on February 6 by masked gunmen outside of his Tunis home, in an act that sparked protests across the country. Supporters joined his family in mourning on February 9. © Photo: FRANCE 24 / Mehdi Chebil
Visitors paid respect to Belaid’s family at the home of the slain leader's father, seated on the far right and wearing a red fez. © Photo: FRANCE 24 / Mehdi Chebil
Belaid has quickly become a symbol of the struggle for democracy for the Tunisian opposition. Members of his left-wing Movement of Democratic Patriots Party and supporters have started brandishing arm bands with Belaid's portrait. © Photo: FRANCE 24 / Mehdi Chebil
Family members mourned Belaid on Thursday, on the eve of a mass strike and protest set to coincide with his funeral. © Photo: FRANCE 24 / Mehdi Chebil
Belaid's widow, Basma Khalfaoui, is a trained lawyer and a member of his left-wing party. She has accused the Islamist-led government of complicity in her husband's murder. © Photo: FRANCE 24 / Mehdi Chebil
Abdel Majid Belaid, the fallen leader's brother, is also a member of the Movement of Democratic Patriots Party. © Photo: FRANCE 24 / Mehdi Chebil
A portrait of the Tunisian union leader and independence hero Farhat Hached hangs in the Belaid family home. Hached was himself the victim of a political assassination in 1952. © Photo: FRANCE 24 / Mehdi Chebil
Date created : 2013-02-08