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Tunisia's Ennahda denounces 'politicised' charges against Bhiri

January 6, 2022 at 2:38 pm

Vice president of Tunisia’s Ennahda party Noureddine Bhiri in Tunis on 9 December 2021 [FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images]

On Tuesday, Tunisia’s Ennahda movement denounced the charges against its detained Vice-President Noureddine Bhiri, and said they are “politicised”.

On Monday, Tunisian Interior Minister, Taoufik Charfeddine, announced that Ennahda’s Vice-President, Noureddine Bhiri, had been placed under house arrest due to “illegal issuance of passports for some individuals and for a serious suspicion of terrorism”.

This came after a statement by Bhiri’s defence committee that it considers him in a status of “kidnapping”, so it filed a complaint against President Kais Saied and the Minister of Interior.

Earlier on Tuesday, Abderrazak Kilani, a member of the defence committee of Vice-President Noureddine Bhiri, stated that placing the Vice-President under house arrest meant that “Tunisia has entered a phase of case fabrication.”

Kilani said that the defence team listened to the charges against Bhiri, 63, and, like all Tunisians, he pointed out to the incitement by the Minister of Interior of the security forces and the judicial police against attorneys. He said: “His statements (Minister of Interior) and behaviour reflect interference in the judiciary through the use of power.”

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Last Friday, the Tunisian authorities arrested Bhiri, who previously served as Minister of Justice between 2011 and 2013. The Ministry of Interior attributed the procedure to reasons it said were “related to the protection of security and public order, in accordance with the emergency provisions applied within the country since 2015.”

Fathi Al-Baladi, who served in 2011 as an advisor to the former Minister of Interior, Ali Laarayedh, who is a leader in Ennahdha movement, was also put under house arrest.

Bhiri is the first senior leader of the Ennahda Movement to be detained by security forces since President Kais Saied dissolved parliament and took over government powers in late July, in a step described by Ennahda and other parties as a “coup”.

On Friday, Tunisian authorities arrested Ali Bhiri, leader of the Ennahda Movement, MP in the suspended Parliament, and former Minister of Justice.