Yesterday, the Tunisian soccer player, Nizar Issawi, 35, set himself on Facebook on charges of terrorism, when he went to the police station in Hafouz (Kairouan) to report a banana seller after a dispute. He would be in serious condition, burned, but not life threatening. Al-Essawi addressed the smartphone camera, in a 45-second video clip, before igniting the jacket he was wearing, which was allegedly previously immersed in a flammable liquid. The video, which we do not publish, is still online on various social networks.
Al-Issawi’s drama, on the one hand, writes journalist Ariana Politi on Twitter, “It tells of the impoverishment of the Tunisian hinterland and the frustration of a generation. He continues – he talks about the never-resolved and ever-increasing tension between police forces and youth in the context of abuse of power. This is not an isolated case.”
The last self-immolation was a week ago, a 17-year-old in Kelibia. Two months ago it was the turn of a 25-year-old in Sidi Bouzid.
Apart from a six-month stint in Saudi Arabia with Al-Orouba Club in 2015, El-Essawy has spent his entire career playing in his home country. The last thing the Tunisian footballer wrote before setting himself on fire in protest at the slander against him. In the post, Nizar addresses what he calls a “police state”. Since President Kais Saied seized power on July 25, 2021, Tunisia has undergone an authoritarian transition, with an increasing erosion of the rule of law.
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