Tunisian government deems Ansar al-Sharia illegal organization

May 21, 2013 at 9:55 AM

TUNIS, Tunisia, May 21 (UPI) -- Tunisia's Interior Ministry declared Ansar al-Sharia an illegal organization that will be barred from activities of the Salafist movement of Sunni Muslims.

"The Ansar al-Sharia group is an illegal organization that does not abide by the law," Interior Ministry spokesman Lotfi Hidouri told Tunisia Live.

He said the Interior Ministry stood by its previous position about Ansar al-Sharia, which has refused to apply for a permit to organize its meetings and congresses, Tunisia Live reported Tuesday.

The ministry's announcement came days after an Ansar al-Sharia supporter died of injuries he sustained during fighting between police and militants in a Tunis suburb Sunday. Eleven police officers and three protesters were hurt in the fighting.

The funeral of Moez Dahmani, the 27 year-old man who died in the clashes between Ansar al-Sharia supporters and police, took place Tuesday in Ettadhamen, the Tunis suburb where the fighting occurred.

Journalists were barred from the funeral, Tunisia Live said.

The organization, which advocates implementation of strict Sharia, or religious, law, said on its website that smaller gatherings by Ansar al-Sharia supporters were still taking place on a local level.

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