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Tunisia: Execution of a Tunisian in Iraq Divides Netizens

In the early hours of November 16, 2011, Tunisian prisoner Yosri Trigui, aged 27, who was convicted of terrorism by the Iraqi authorities, was executed in Iraq. Trigui had entered the Iraqi territories when he was only 19 years old.

On May 20, 2006, he was arrested by United States (US) forces, and later on in that same year he was sentenced to death by a court in Baghdad for his alleged involvement in the bombing of one of Shi'a's holiest sites al-Askari shrine, in the city of Samarra, and the killing of a journalist from Al-Arabiya channel, Atwar Bahjat. The bombing lit the flame for sectarian violence between the Sunnis and Shi'ites in Iraq.

In 2009, and due to lack of evidence, the death penalty was overturned, and Trigui was sentenced to 15 years in prison for entering ”the Iraqi territories illegally.” His family claims that, in February 2011, and in a phone call he told them that he had been sentenced – in absentia – to death, again.

His father wrote [ar], before the execution of his son on the Facebook page, ‘Tous pour que Yosri Trigui rentre chez lui, en tunisie’ (All united so that Yosri Trigui returns home to Tunisia) [fr]:

يوم الأحد 06/02/2011 حيث أعلمنا انه وصلته رسالة م وزارة العدل العراقية تعلمه انه حكم عليه غيابيا و بدون حضور أي محامي بالإعدام مجددا لكل التهم المنسوبة إليه سابقا
On Sunday, February 6, 2011, he [Yosri Trigui] told us that he received a message from the Iraqi Ministry of Justice, informing him that he had been sentenced in absentia and without the presence of any lawyer, to death again, for the previous charges directed at him

In July, 2011, Amnesty International appealed to the Iraqi authorities to commute the death penalty against Trigui, who ”was sentenced to death following a trial which appeared not to meet international standards for fair trials”, said the organization in a statement.

According to Amnesty, Trigui, was among 11 people convicted of terrorist acts, to be hanged on November 16.

The execution of Trigui divided Tunisian netizens. There are those who believe, that for his involvement in the killing of dozens of innocent people, he deserved the punishment he got.

@djerbafr tweets [fr]:

avant de pleurer l’exécution de #yossritriki ayez une petite pensée pour la famille des centaines de ses victimes!

Instead of crying over the execution of Yosri Trigui, thoughts go to the families of hundreds of his victims

Le supplice du Pal adds [fr]:

ce n'etait q'un terroriste… pourquoi s'indigner

He was only a terrorist…why the outrage?

Those who sympathized with Trigui's plight claim that his trial did not meet international standards, and that he might have been brainwashed to commit such atrocities.

Blogger Tarek Kahlaoui blamed the current interim government for not doing enough to save him [ar]:

اعدام يسري الطريقي خبر مؤلم لعائلته ولكثير من التونسيين خاصة انه لم يحظ بمحاكمة عادلة[.. .] كان على الباجي قائد السبسي او المبزع القيام بمسعى “رسمي” حتى ربما يقع نزع الذرائع لدى السلطات العراقية لاعدام الطريقي.
The news of the execution of Yosri Trigui is painful for his family and for many Tunisians, especially that he did not have a fair trial (…) Beji Caid Sebsi [current Prime Minister], or Mbezaa (current President] should have made an ”official” attempt (to stop the execution) so at that least the Iraqi authorities will run out of excuses to execute Trigui

Tarek Kahloui urged the Tunisian authorities to intervene in order to save the lives of other Tunisians sentenced to death in Iraq:

لايزال هناك سجناء تونسيون في العراق بدون محاكمات عادلة. من واجب السلطات التونسية الجديدة الدفاع عن حقهم في ذلك وهو حق كل تونسي خارج بلاده.
There are still Tunisian prisoners, who have not been subjected to fair trials, in Iraq. It is the duty of the new Tunisian authorities, to defend their right to a fair trial, which is the right of every Tunisian citizen outside the country.

Tarek Cheniti notes [fr]:

Dégouté par l’annonce de l’exécution de Yosri Trigui en Irak. Stop à toute cette violence y’en a marre.

Disgusted by the announcement of the execution of Yosri Trigui in Iraq. Stop the violence, we've had enough
Page of the Iraqi Oil Ministry after being hacked. Photo of Yosri Trigui with a message from the hacker.

Page of the Iraqi Oil Ministry after being hacked. Photo of Yosri Trigui with a message from the hacker.

In protest against the execution, a Tunisian hacker known as GlaDiaT0R hacked a page of the website of the Iraqi Ministry of Oil. ”We do not forget, we do not forgive, we are not anonymous, we are Tunisians. Expect us” was the message published by the hacker, in an imitation to the style of the international hacking group Anonymous.

Meanwhile, the writer of the blog Boukornine puts the blame [fr] on Yosri, his father, the Islamist leader Rached Ghannouchi, and the Tunisian elite:

J'accuse Yosri Triqui de naïveté, de bêtise, d'avoir été embobiné, endoctriné, manipulé (…)Je l'accuse… d'avoir faussement rassuré l'opinion publique(…)J'accuse l'élite tunisienne de ne pas guider cette jeunesse (…)J'accuse le père de Yosri Triqui de glorifier la mort bête et inutile de son enfant, de ne pas s'avouer qu'il a échoué dans son éducation, qu'il n'a pas été là pour le guider quand il a commencé à avoir ces idées macabres (…)Ton départ me torture, Yosri. Ton exécution me hante, je te regarde mais ne vois pas de terroriste.

I accuse Yosri Trigui of naivety, and stupidity, for being tricked, indoctrinated, and manipulated (…) I accuse him [Rached Ghannouchi] of wrongly reassuring the public opinion [days before the execution, he claimed that the Iraqi President promised him in a phone call not to execute Yosri] (…) I accuse the Tunisian elite of not guiding this youth (…) I accuse the father of Yosri Trigui of glorifying the stupid, and useless death of his child, of not admitting that he failed in raising his son, and of not being there to guide him, when he started to have these macabre ideas (…) Your departure tortures me Yosri. Your execution makes me feel ashamed. I look at you, and I don't see a terrorist

The writer finishes the post with a message to all parents:

Expliquez à vos enfants que le plus intense et le plus glorieux des djihad est de réussir à l'école, de devenir un bon citoyen, de trouver un boulot, de fonder une famille et de vivre heureux

Explain to your children that the greatest, and most glorious Jihad (Holy War) is succeeding at school, becoming a good citizen, finding a job, establishing a family, and living happily

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