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Detained Ennahda politician stages hunger strike in Tunisia

Detained deputy leader of Tunisia’s Ennahda party, Noureddine Bhiri ​[AFP/Getty images
Tunisia’s Ennahda Noureddine Bhiri, 3 January 2022 [AFP/Getty images]

The detained deputy leader of Tunisia's Ennahda party, Noureddine Bhiri, has been refusing food and medication in hospital, a local human rights group said on Monday, reports Anadolu Agency.

Fathi al-Jari, head of the Association for the Prevention of Torture, said he met late Sunday with Noureddine Bhiri at a hospital in Bizerte alongside a delegation from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"Bhiri, 63, has staged a brutal hunger strike and refuses to take medicine," al-Jari told Anadolu Agency.

READ: Tunisia's Ennahda calls for national dialogue

He pointed out that "Bhiri told the delegation that he was transferred from the capital, Tunis [following his arrest] to the National Guard Center in the city of Menzel Jamil [in Bizerte province], then to the Agricultural Vocational Training Center in Bizerte, where he was under house arrest, and later to Bizerte Hospital."

Al-Jari stated that Ennahda's deputy leader "considers himself in a case of abduction, and he has a single request, which is to hold his abductors accountable."

Regarding his health condition, he said Bhiri is "conscious, but his health condition is fragile", adding that he suffers from complications of a heart surgery he underwent earlier.

Meanwhile, the attorneys of Bhiri filed on Monday a complaint with the Public Prosecution against President Kais Saied and Interior Minister Tawfiq Sharaf el-Din over the Ennahda deputy leader's detention.

On Sunday evening, an Ennahda member said Bhiri was hospitalised in a "very dangerous condition" and he was "facing death," adding that "for three days he has been without food, water, and medicine."

READ: Tunisia's Ennahda says its deputy head abducted

On Friday, Ennahda Movement said that Bhiri was abducted and taken to an unknown destination, and held the president and the interior minister responsible for his disappearance.

A lawyer and politician, Bhiri served as a justice minister in 2011-2013 and then became a minister accredited to the prime minister in 2013-2014.

The Tunisian president ousted the government on July 25, suspended parliament, and assumed executive authority. While he insists that his "exceptional measures" are meant to "save" the country, critics have accused him of orchestrating a coup.

Is Tunisia slipping into a dangerous pitfall?- Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Is Tunisia slipping into a dangerous pitfall?- Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

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