Tunisian sets self on fire to protest theft claim

AP News
Posted: Apr 11, 2013 3:59 PM

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — A security official says a young Tunisian man has set himself on fire in a town near the Libyan border after being accused of theft.

Samir Ben Tahar, 25, had denied any wrongdoing, maintaining he was in Libya at the time of the theft, said the official in the border town of Ben Guerdane.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press, said Ben Tahar was in the hospital in critical condition after suffering from third degree burns Thursday.

According Interior Ministry figures, it is the 165th case of a self-immolation in Tunisia since that of an itinerant fruit-seller in the town of Sidi Bouzid.

That young man's burning and eventual death sparked Tunisia's successful pro-democracy uprising in December 2010.