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No poison found in suspect letter to Tunisian president

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 16, 2020, Tunisian President Kais Saied gives a talk on constitutional law during a state visit to Qatar at an event hosted by Lusail University. – Tunisian authorities opened an investigation after a suspicious letter intended for Tunisian President Kais Saied was intercepted, sources close to the presidency said. (Photo by Karim JAAFAR / AFP)

A suspicious letter addressed to Tunisian President Kais Saied did not contain any dangerous material, a senior official said Friday, after the presidency had suggested an attempted poisoning.

Saied’s chief of staff Nadia Akacha, who opened the envelope, was briefly hospitalised this week after suffering from short-term vision loss and headaches, according to the presidency.

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Tunisian media suggested the letter may have contained ricin, a poison that can be lethal in high doses.

But Mohsen Dali, the spokesman of the prosecution department, told AFP that analysis carried out on the empty envelope indicated it “did not contain any suspicious, toxic or dangerous” material.

He added, however, that an investigation is still underway.

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The presidency did not say when the incident occurred but stressed that Saied did not come into contact with the envelope — which was eventually destroyed in a shredder — and that he was in good health.

Another employee, who was in the same room with Akacha when she opened the envelope, had similar symptoms but of lesser intensity, it added.

Akacha was discharged from hospital on Wednesday.

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