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Tunisian President stops house arrests as a first move to appease popular outrage

October 11, 2021 at 3:47 pm

Police officers block the road as people stage a demonstration in Tunis, Tunisia on 26 January 2021 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

Tunisian President, Kais Saied, has decided to cancel the house arrest orders against former deputies and officials, a move that observers considered as an attempt to appease the rising popular outrage against the exceptional measures that disrupted Tunisian institutions and contributed to the social and economic decline in the country, as reported by Al-Quds-Al-Arabi.

“I was informed a few minutes ago that the decision to put me under house arrest was cancelled. Praise be to Allah and thanks to everyone who supported me: my family, my friends and my colleagues,” former head of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, Chawki Tabib, wrote on his Facebook page.

Former minister, Anwar Maarouf, added, “Praise be to Allah, and after hardship comes relief. I was notified a while ago that the house arrest decision was cancelled.”

“I came today from my place of house arrest. I want to thank you because you were the reason for this decision,” MP, Yousri Al-Dali said during his participation in Sunday’s demonstration.

Former minister, Abdel Latif Al-Makki, wrote, “The house arrest of Minister Anwar Maarouf and Dean Chawki Tabib has been lifted. The march is going very well, so let those who did not join us come with us.”

Under the heading “President Saied yields to the pressure,” political analyst, Abdel Latif Derbala, wrote, “The house arrest that was imposed on a number of people was lifted a while ago by a decision of the person in charge of running the Ministry of the Interior, in accordance with the order regulating the State of Emergency, which most legal professionals consider unconstitutional and illegitimate. Its approval was hastily signed on the bloody demonstrations of 26 January, 1978, during the dictatorship of Habib Bourguiba, and it was used after 25 July, 2021 by the current president, Kais Saied.

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He added, “It is known that Tunisian and international human rights organisations denounced putting political and judicial figures under house arrest by a mere decision of the Ministry of the Interior, without a legal reason or charge, or that the concerned person poses a threat to public security, as stipulated in the order regulating the State of Emergency, itself. The United States of America and major countries also criticised the arbitrary and law-breaking measures that suppress freedoms in Tunisia, and called on President Kais Saied to retract them immediately.

He continued by saying, “Imposing house arrest on a number of people without any reasons … and lifting it also without any reasons, firstly, shows that the decision is arbitrary and unstudied … and, secondly, shows that the decision to cancel is a result of pressure.” Kais Saied retracted from imposing house arrest under pressure. He may replace it by launching judicial procedures against the targeted figures, in coordination with the security and judiciary using the pressure he has exerted on them recently to instrumentalise them to serve his agenda.

Is Tunisia's state of emergency being used to restrict freedoms? - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Is Tunisia’s state of emergency being used to restrict freedoms? – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]