A man places a Tunisian flag onto a police car as a policeman stands guard during a demonstration two days after gunmen attacked the museum and killed scores of people in Tunis, March 20, 2015. (AP/Christophe Ena)
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The seven men spent a week in a Tunisian prison on terrorism charges, suffering what they claim was torture under custody, before a judge released them for lack of evidence.Tunisia, the cradle of the Arab Spring, was its only country to emerge with a democracy marked by increased freedoms and regular elections. Tunisia's freedoms may be buckling as the country clamps down to deal with terror attacks threatening an economy already teetering on the edge of insolvency.Under Ben Ali, Tunisia was a police state in which the feared Interior Ministry harshly repressed dissent; the corrupt economy was run by close friends and family of the dictator.In the fall, Tunisians elected a new party to power, Nida Tunis (Tunisia's Call), which evokes the glories of the Tunisia's first post-independence leader, Habib Bourguiba, who laid the foundations for the state under his paternalistic, authoritarian rule.Mohsen Marzouk, the secretary general of Nida Tunis and one of the top contenders to be the next president of the country, dismissed the concerns of what he calls a "tiny minority" – pointing out that most polls have Tunisians calling for more authority, not less.While transitional justice is important, he said Tunisia is in the midst of a titanic economic struggle and a war on terrorism, and doesn't have time for a lengthy process to go over a half century's worth of crimes.
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