Qatar Donates $20 Million for Tunisia 'Martyrs'


Qatar has donated $20 million to Tunisia to compensate the families of those killed or wounded in the revolution, local media reported on Friday, as parliament moved closer to adopting a compensation law.

The donations, which will supplement an existing fund, was announced by Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali.

They comes as Tunisia's interim parliament took the first step on Thursday towards adopting a law relating to the same compensation program, two years after the violent uprising that toppled former strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The bill, whose individual articles still need to be ratified, would provide coverage for deaths and injuries between December 17, 2010 and February 28, 2011 and lowers to six percent the minimum level of disability required to qualify for compensation.

Residents of the central mining region of Redeyef protested on Thursday against the "denial of rights" by the Islamist-led coalition government and has called for a strike on January 3, an AFP journalist reported.

Support for the victims of the revolution is a sensitive issue that has frequently led to demonstrations, sometimes violent, with a definitive list of those killed and injured in the uprising yet to be published.

The Tunisian state has already paid some people 10,000 euros for the loss of a family member, while some of those injured have received 1,500 euros, but the process has been complicated by compensation claims from "false" victims.

A senior U.N. official estimated last year that about 300 people were killed and 700 injured in the violent unrest that led to the fall of Ben Ali's regime on January 14, 2011.

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