Tunisian activists have called for holding protests during Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s upcoming visit to the north African country over the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
On Thursday, bin Salman began a tour of several Arab states, starting with the United Arab Emirates, in his first trip abroad since the killing of Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey’s city of Istanbul last month, which is blamed on him and battered his image abroad.
Tunisian activists on Friday called for demonstrations in front of the presidential palace in Carthage during the trip on Tuesday.
“The blood of Khashoggi has not dried yet, the murderer bin Salman is not welcome in Tunisia, the country of democratic transition,” said Neji Bghouri, the president of the journalists’ syndicate.
The North African country has been hailed for its relatively smooth democratic transition following the 2011 revolution that toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Journalists, bloggers and human rights activists are also trying to mount a legal challenge to stop the visit.
They tasked a group of 50 lawyers to file a complaint with the Tunisian courts to oppose the visit, lawyer Nizar Boujlel said.
The Tunisian presidency, however, welcomed the visit, with Nourredine Ben Ticha, adviser to Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi, saying “Bin Salman will visit Tunisia on November 27. He is welcome in Tunisia, like the rest of the Arab brothers. Saudi Arabia has an important role in the Arab region.”
He added that Tunisia had asked for the truth about the death of the Washington Post columnist and the punishment of those involved, but said the incident should not be exploited “to harm the stability of a brotherly country like Saudi Arabia”.
Khashoggi, 59, a one-time royal insider who had been critical of the crown prince recently, was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Following weeks of denial of any involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance, the Saudi regime eventually acknowledged the “premeditated” murder, but has sought to distance the heir to the Saudi throne from the assassination.
A Saudi prosecutor later said Khashoggi’s body had been dismembered, removed from the diplomatic mission and handed to an unidentified “local cooperator.”
Furthermore, a recent report by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) said that the spy agency had concluded that bin Salman had been behind the gruesome crime.