Bonn. The judiciary is reopening the case of the shooting of Ahlem Dalhoumi from Bonn and her cousin. It wants to prosecute the alleged shooters. The family is relieved.
There has been a spectacular turn of events in the case of Ahlem and Ons Dalhoumi, who were shot by police five years ago in Kasserine, Tunisia. The Tunisian judiciary wants to prosecute the suspected shooters. The relevant report has been received by Ahlem’s father, Mongi Dalhoumi, who is currently in Tunisia.
“We are relieved that there is finally progress. The fight was worth it,” says Mongi Dalhoumi, who lives with his family in Bonn. It appeared the deaths of the two young women would remain unpunished until recently. The Tunisian investigators thought there was insufficient evidence.
It was 23 August 2014 when the Bonn law student Ahlem and her cousin Ons, who lived in Tunisia, were on the way home from a wedding celebration in Kasserine. Ahlem’s sister Sondes was driving the car. 21-year-old Ahlem was in the passenger seat. Her cousin, Ons, from Tunisia and Yasmin, who like Ahlem grew up in Beuel, sat in the back seat.
Three more friends and relatives squeezed into the vehicle. On a remote road, men dressed in black jumped onto the road. Sondes did not realise that they were policemen. Two officers drew their guns and fired. They said later in a report that they thought the occupants were terrorists.
Sondes hit the accelerator, wanting to escape. The men shot at the car from behind. Bullets hit Ahlem, Ons and Yasmin. Ahlem died immediately. Ons died later that night from her serious head injury. Yasmin survived, seriously injured, after a bullet went into her shoulder.
The family has also engaged a lawyer in Tunisia
Mourad H, the prime suspect, was arrested but later released. After a short break, the other policemen were allowed to go on patrol again. Several judges dealt with the case but there was no prosecution due to lack of evidence. “I don’t yet understand why there is this turn of events now,” said lawyer Michael Hakner, who represents the family in Germany. One reason could be that Tunisia is about to hold elections.
However, perhaps the constant pressure exerted by the Dalhoumis was also decisive. The family has also engaged a lawyer in Tunisia. “The German Embassy has repeatedly sent letters to the authorities, inquired about the case and supported us,” explains Mongi Dalhoumi.
The 55 page indictment, which still has to be served on the two suspects, has not yet been translated into German. According to Mongi Dalhoumi, Mourad H is to be charged with murder and another policeman with attempted murder. According to Tunisian law, murder carries the death penalty, which has been imposed by courts in recent years but no longer carried out.
Hakner and his Tunisian colleague want to work towards the nine other policemen who were there on the night the shots were fired being charged. Mongi Dalhoumi will meet representatives of the Tunisian parliament, government and the German Embassy for further talks on Wednesday before he travels back to Germany.
Original text: Nicolas Ottersbach. Translation: kc