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Second Tunisian Salafist inmate dies

A Tunisian Salafist who had been jailed for his alleged role in an attack on the US embassy in September has died while on hunger strike. He is the second Salafist prisoner to die in Tunisia in as many days.

Muhammed Bakhti's lawyer and Tunisia's justice ministry confirmed that the Salafist had died in hospital, two days after fellow Islamist Bechir Gholli died; Gholli had refused to eat for nearly two months. 

“It's a shame that Tunisians die in prison after the revolution," Bakhti's lawyer, Anouar Aouled Ali, told the news agency Reuters.

The pair had insisted on their innocence and protested against their prison conditions. They were among more than 100 people arrested in Tunis in September when protestors angered by an anti-Islam move made in California attacked the US embassy.

Bakhti and Gholli had both began their hunger strike almost immediately after their arrests. The protest on September 14 led to the ransacking of the US embassy. 

Bakhti was believed to have been a prominent figure in the Salafist movement and to have had close relations with the organizer of the attack, Abu Iyad, who remains at large.

sej/ipj (AFP, Reuters)