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Former International Relations Commissioner: Ready to testify before Tunisian civil courts

February 7, 2022 at 5:14 pm

Tunisian Courthouse [Citizen59/Wikipedia]

The former Commissioner for International Relations of the Muslim Brotherhood, Youssef Nada, declared his preparedness to testify before the Tunisian judiciary regarding the lawsuit in which the Vice-President of the Tunisian Ennahda Movement, Noureddine Bhiri, is prosecuted. He explained that he will present more and new documents that prove “the false allegations of the Minister of the Interior, Taoufik Charfeddine”.

The Tunisian Minister of Interior stated in a press conference on 3 January that the house arrest decisions against Bhiri and former official in the Tunisian Ministry of Interior, Fathi Al-Baldi, are related to what he described as serious suspicions concerning the illegal issuance and provision of nationality certificates, identity cards and passports for individuals that he did not name.

Subsequently, the Tunisian media reported that the two persons were the two prominent leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood: the Egyptian, Youssef Nada and the Syrian, Ali Ghaleb Hemmat.

New Documents

“Today, I am ready to testify before the Tunisian civil courts, to reveal other documents more important and more dangerous than what was recently published by the newspaper, Arabi 21, in order to prove, with conclusive evidence, the falsity of the allegations of the Minister of Interior,” Nada said. He added, “Although I may be exposed to risks, I am ready to take this step at any time.”

While the former Commissioner for International Relations of the Muslim Brotherhood stressed that he was promised protection against any attempt to pressure, offend or detain him from the plaintiffs, he said: “Things will be arranged in a way that will convince me of safety”, without specifying the parties that promised him to do so.

READ: Tunisia: Supreme Judicial Council HQ closed by authorities

“Ennahda Movement is considered the most essential and sacrificial force in resisting dictatorship and oppression in Tunisia throughout its history. It now faces, as it did before, a new wave of dictatorship reinforced by military and security leaders who hide behind a civilian president,” Nada continued.

He added, “The Tunisian Minister of Interior charged us, along with Bhiri, and said that Prime Minister, Najla Bouden, and the Head of State have nothing to do with his allegations; they did not agree with him in his alleged accusations, and this matter cannot deceive the people at all.”

He declared: “When some documents were published by Arabi 21 and other Arab media, the Tunisian Minister ignored this fact and did not respond to the official documents that refute his false accusations, while the President, the Prime Minister – appointed by President, leaders from the army and the Ministry of Interior supported him to attack the law and its procedures to fabricate this case and defame the strongest and most sincere opponents, by using blatant lies and fraud.”

He pointed out that “the Minister of Interior prevented Bhiri from defending himself freely, where he arrested him and pressured him to surrender to the charges fabricated against him and, maybe, the political forces in Tunisia are aware of the famous saying ‘once bitten twice shy’.”

The former Muslim Brotherhood International Relations Commissioner continued, “I am not challenging anyone, but we have been educated on human rights and moral rules, one of which says that ‘he who is silent about the truth is a dumb devil’. We have never, and will never, be silent about saying what’s right and declare it.”

He added: “The other issue is that, if I were authorised by the curator of the archives of the two deceased presidents, Habib Bourguiba and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, I would announce what is mentioned in these documents about the Minister of the Interior and his President and their loyal and political deviation in their various life phases and employment.”

Coup with a civilian cover

Nada addressed a question to the leaders of the Tunisian military and interior, saying, “Is Tunisia now facing what other Arab countries are used to, in the form of military coups with a civilian cover represented by a president who acts as a figure-head, when necessary, and then steps down, then the military leadership remains for decades?”

Nada concluded his statements by saying, “The various nationalities I obtained from countries that were mostly with different views compared to our country. Despite their appreciation for many of our ideas and actions in our countries, we have never been involved in acts of opposition or offense to them. We have left them to their own people to take what is right for the country and the people as they see it.”

On 23 January, Arabi21 published a series of documents confirming the inaccuracy of recent statements made by the Tunisian Minister of Interior regarding the arrest of Bhiri and former official of the Ministry of Interior, Fathi Al-Baldi.

READ: Tunisia judge: The West has honoured me while my country is prosecuting me

The documents confirmed that granting Tunisian nationality to Nada and Hemmat was done legally, with official approval of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice and the Tunisian consulates in the Austrian capital, Vienna, and the Swiss city of Bern, and that Bhiri had absolutely nothing to do with this case.

These official documents included the certificate of nationality issued by the Tunisian ambassador in Vienna to Youssef Nada, the registration card signed by the Tunisian ambassador in April 1981, the certificate of Tunisian nationality issued by the Ministry of Justice in Tunisia on 19 February 1983, and the letter from the head of the Nationality Authority in Tunisia on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs on 14 March, 1983.

It is noteworthy that on 31 December last year, Ennahda Movement announced the kidnapping of the 63-year-old leader, Noureddine Bhiri, by plain-clothes security guards; they took him to an unknown destination.

On 2 January, Bhiri was transferred to the intensive care unit of a hospital in the northern city of Bizerte, after deteriorating health conditions following his hunger strike, a protest against arrest. The Tunisian authorities said he was under house arrest on suspicion of security problems and corruption.