INTRODUCTION: The trial of 76 Islamic fundamentalists accused of belonging to an underground movement that planned to overthrow the Tunisian regime has opened in the national capital of Tunis.
GV TILT DOWN Court building PAN to street
SV PAN ZOOM OUT TO GV Entrance to court
SV PAN Police van arriving
GV ZOOM INTO SV Security guards outside court checking vehicle
SV PULL BACK TO GV Judge takes seat
SV Lawyers talking in the back court
GV AND SVs Prisoners in dock (4 shots)
GV Judge and courtroom officials on bench
GV Leaflets being thrown from buildings to demonstrators (2 shots)
GV Street scene
GV Groups gathered outside city wall
GVs Crowds watch as fires burn in streets (3 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: The trial of 76 Islamic fundamentalists accused of belonging to an underground movement that planned to overthrow the Tunisian regime has opened in the national capital of Tunis. The accused are militants of the Islamic Tendency Movement (I.T.M.).
SYNOPSIS: According to the Tunisian Interior Minister Driss Guiga, the I.T.M. is a clandestine organization agitating in mosque, schools and public enterprises for the overthrow of the national regime. The 76 fundamentalists were brought to trial last Thursday (27 august), but the case was adjourned until Monday (31 August). They arrived at the Palais Justice on a police van after the adjournment.
Security was tight as the proceedings continued. The trial is expected to focus attention on the liberalising policies of President Bourguiba. The 78 year old President has ruled since independence from France in 1956. In June the President's socialist government announced the inauguration of a multi-party system, and the I.T.M. asked to be registered with the aim of "reviving Tunisia's Islamic character". Within weeks, however, following a series of incidents, leaders were arrested. The mass trial follows this trial in March of 60 Tunisians, for complicity in an attack on military installations.
There have been other troubles in Tunisia's recent history as well. At least forty people were killed in January 1978 during a one-day general strike that erupted into rioting.
Most of the accused who were on trial on Monday were charged following incidents during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, including attacks on French holidaymakers and violence in schools and in universities. The government has claimed that the islamic activists are linked with Iran.