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Tunisia: MPs questioned over involvement in 'coup attempt'

Ayachi Zammel, member of the dissolved parliament in Tunisia [Youtube]
Ayachi Zammel, member of the dissolved parliament in Tunisia [Youtube]

Anti-terrorism security authorities in Tunisia have begun questioning MPs on Friday regarding their participation in a virtual final parliamentary session a few hours before it was dissolved.

Ayachi Zammel, a member of the dissolved parliament, stated that he and two colleagues Nuha Al-Esawi and Abdel Majd Al-Marzouki appeared before the national unit to combat terrorism and organised crime to be questioned over their participation in a virtual parliamentary general session on 30 March, 2022.

In a statement to local radio station Mosaic, Zammel expressed: "Involving MPs in terrorism crimes that are punishable by death is not a solution and will not provide any solutions for the Tunisians. The solution lies in dialogue."

Zammel challenged the legitimacy of the decision by Tunisian President Kais Saied to dissolve Parliament, noting: "The president had confirmed on several previous occasions that Parliament cannot be dissolved by the Constitution."

He considered his participation in the general session: "A right guaranteed by the Constitution, in accordance with Article 80 that stipulates that Parliament remains in permanent session."

READ: Tunisian court sentences journalist, lawmaker to prison

The MPs who attended the virtual general session are facing charges of: "Forming a criminal alliance aiming to overthrow the ruling regime and to commit crimes endangering the safety of the country." This is a dangerous crime in Tunisian law that could be punishable by death.

Parliament has been frozen since July. However, it held a virtual general session on Wednesday, during which it unanimously voted to: "Abolish all the exceptional measures announced by Kais Saied on 25 July, 2021."

The Tunisian president considers the virtual general session and its vote a failed coup attempt. After overseeing the National Security Council meeting that evening, Saied announced the dissolution of Parliament based on Article 72 of the Constitution.

Kais Saied, Tunisia president dissolves parliament 'to preserve the state' - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Kais Saied, Tunisia president dissolves parliament 'to preserve the state' – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

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