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Ghannouchi calls judgements against four MPs 'unfair'

Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Ennahda Movement in Tunis, Tunisia on April 29, 2022 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]
Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Ennahda Movement in Tunis, Tunisia on April 29, 2022 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

The head of Tunisia's Ennahda Movement and speaker of the dissolved parliament, Rached Ghannouchi has condemned the judgements issued today against MPs Seifeddine Makhlouf, Nidhal Saoudi, Mohamed Affes and Maher Zaid, describing them as "unjust". The aim of these judgments, he said, is "to cancel dissenting opinions and besiege dissenters." He described the measures as "more evidence" of a "dictatorship".

The lawyer and former leader of Ennahda, Samir Dilou, revealed on Tuesday the judgments issued against several MPs from the Dignity Coalition bloc in the dissolved parliament and other parties related to what is known as the "airport case". Dilou wrote on his official Facebook page: "The judgments… have been issued after a session without questioning or pleadings. Seifeddine Makhlouf was sentenced to five months, Nidhal Saoudi five months, Mehdi Zagrouba six months, Mohamed Affes three months, Maher Zaid three months, Lotfi Mejri [a traveller who filmed the events] three months. The lawsuit for Abdul Latif Al-Alaoui was not heard."

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Dilou confirmed on Tuesday that the First Instance Circuit of the Military Court in Tunis refused to hear the pleadings of the defendants and lawyers in the case.

Ghannouchi has continued to speak in parliament's name, despite President Kais Saied's decision to dissolve the institution on 30 March. He affirmed his "principled refusal to exploit the military and civil judiciary and the state institutions in political disputes and to supersede the dissenting opinion." He called on all parties to assume their responsibilities in adhering to the rule of law and defending state institutions.

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