TUNIS, Tunisia — A lawyer for suspects in the 2015 attack that killed 38 people in a popular Tunisian resort offered condolences to the victims’ families Friday.
Twenty-one suspects, who have all denied any direct role in the attack, attended the final hearing of the trial over Tunisia’s deadliest attack.
The final session was dedicated to the defence’s closing arguments and a livestream was made possible so that families of victims in Europe could watch.
The court will adjourn and the deliberation will last at least 10 hours before a verdict is reached.
Defence lawyer Imen Truqui presented her condolences to families and insisted the trial was held in a democratic atmosphere, with all parties granted the right to defend themselves.
On June 26, 2015, in the coastal city of Sousse, attacker Aymen Rezgui walked onto the beach of the Imperial Hotel and used an assault rifle to shoot at tourists in lounge chairs, then continued onto the hotel pool before throwing a grenade into the hotel.
Rezgui, a Tunisian student who trained with Libyan militants, was killed about 15 minutes later by police. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Some of the defendants face potential capital punishment for charges of premeditated murder, threatening state security and belonging to a group with extremist links.
In addition to the massacre at the beach resort, Tunisia suffered two other major attacks in 2015. At the famed Bardo Museum, 22 people were killed by extremists while 12 perished in the centre of Tunis on a bus carrying presidential guards.
The Islamic State group also claimed responsibility for those attacks, which, along with the attack at the Imperial Hotel, devastated the country’s tourism sector as travel agencies pulled out and governments issued travel warnings.
Tourism has since partially bounced back after Tunisia’s government implemented a series of measures aimed at securing popular destinations in the country.