17 Tunisia Police Officers Charged over Death of Football Fan


Seventeen Tunisian police officers have been indicted for manslaughter after a fan drowned in March outside a football match, Ghazi Mrabet, a lawyer representing the victim's family, said Tuesday.

The police are accused of chasing a group of young fans into a stream near the Rades Stadium after they were allegedly involved in clashes between supporters of Tunisia's Club Africain.

According to witnesses, 19-year-old Omar Labidi shouted to police that he did not know how to swim before jumping into the water. 

The young man's body was fished from the stream the following day, about three kilometers from the stadium. 

The victim's brother accused the police of pushing the young fan into the water. 

"He (Omar) told the police that he did not know how to swim, and the policeman said: 'Go ahead and learn to swim, jump,'" his brother said, in a video broadcast on Tunisian media. 

Since Labidi's death, the Arabic hashtag "#learn_to_swim" has been widely circulated on social media.

The young man drowned on March 31 after clashes broke out among fans at a professional league match between Tunisia's Club Africain and the Olympique de Medenine outfit.

Violence is common in and around Tunisia's stadiums. 

In early May, a video showing two young basketball fans chased and beaten by men believed to be police was widely shared on social media.

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