Africa

Tunisia court 'convicts 20' over US embassy attack

A Tunisian fire fighter inside a burnt out building in the grounds of the American school in Tunis on September 2012
Image caption The neighbouring American school was also badly damaged in the attack

A Tunisian court has sentenced 20 people to two-year suspended jail terms for involvement in an attack on the US embassy in Tunis in September 2012, their lawyer says.

Four people died in clashes when the embassy and a neighbouring American school were attacked.

Islamist protesters had targeted the compound over an anti-Islam film made in the US.

In recent months the government has taken a tougher stance with extremists.

Earlier this month, one protester died when police clashed with the supporters of the radical Ansar al-Sharia movement in a suburb of Tunis.

Bizerte unrest

The defendants' lawyer Anwar Oued Ali told the AFP agency on Tuesday: "We will see with their families if they want to appeal. If they want to, we will do it."

Only nine of those sentences are currently in custody, Mr Oued Ali says.

There was no official announcement of the verdicts.

Also on Tuesday, one man died after clashes between police and street vendors in the town of Bizerte over the enforcement regulations on their trade.

Interior ministry spokesmen said that the vendors pelted police with rocks and petrol bombs at police, who responded with tear gas.

Local media reported that the man died of smoke inhalation.

The revolution that overthrew President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011 and inspired other revolts in the Arab Spring began when a street vendor in the town of Sidi Bouzid set himself on fire in protest at police harassment.