Photo by Tunisian Presidency / Handout/Anadolu Agency Getty Images

Tunisian President Kais Saied makes a speech during the joint press conference with Algerian President (not in image) in Algeria.

Tunisian President Calls for Death Penalty Following Murder of Young Woman

President Kais Saied has called for the reinstatement of the death penalty following public outrage after the murder of a 29-year-old woman.

Tunisian President Kais Saied has announced legislation reinstating the death penalty for murderers. This announcement follows public outrage after the death of a 29-year-old Tunisian woman whose lifeless body was found in a ditch in Ain Zaghouan. President Saied's call for the death penalty is a gravely serious one in the North African country as the last government ordered execution took place back in 1991.


READ: South Africans are Calling for the Death Penalty in Response to Violence Against Women

The unnamed Tunisian woman is reported to have gone missing last week after leaving her workplace. Later on, her body was reportedly found dumped in a ditch near a highway that runs from the capital Tunis to the suburb of Marsa. According to Tunisian justice ministry, a man reportedly came forward, confessed to strangling the victim and stealing her phone. Following the arrest of the perpetrator, the victims father demanded the killer be executed and this has roused further calls for the death penalty to return.

President Saied reportedly told the nation's security council this past Monday that, "Anyone who kills a person for no reason deserves the death penalty," according to a video posted by the presidency.

Tunisia is one of a few African countries that have spotlighted gender-based violence. A few months ago, Liberia declared rape a state of a national emergency while Nigeria passed a law that permits the castration of child rapists. The incidence of gender-based violence and femicide continues to be on the rise in South Africa, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Amnesty International has condemned President Saied's call for the death penalty considering the efforts the country has expended to do away with it entirely. According to the international human rights group, Tunisia has been voting in favour of the UN General Assembly resolution on a Moratorium on the use of the death penalty. Around a hundred people in Tunisia are currently on death row, according to anti-torture rights activists. Death by hanging remains on the statute books of the North African country.

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