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Tunisia: Police detain ex-PM Hamadi Jebali

Independent candidate for the September 15 presidential election, Hamadi Jebali speaks during an exclusive interview in Tunis, Tunisia on August 29, 2019. [Nacer Talel - Anadolu Agency]
Independent candidate for the September 15 presidential election, Hamadi Jebali speaks during an exclusive interview in Tunis, Tunisia on August 29, 2019. [Nacer Talel - Anadolu Agency]

Tunisian police on Thursday raided an industrial facility in the city of Sousse and detained ex-Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, his family revealed.

According to a statement posted on his family's Facebook page, the police seized the phones of Jeabli and his wife, who was with him when he was detained, and was taken to an unknown location.

His family said that the police claimed Jebali was detained because he does not hold an ID card, noting that the authorities refused to renew his ID and passport several months ago when he applied for renewal.

"The president is personally responsible for Jebali's physical and psychological well-being," Jebali's family wrote in the Facebook post, calling on civil society and human rights groups: "To stand up against these repressive practices."

Wahida Jebali, the wife of the former prime minister, said that a large number of security services raided a private industrial facility owned by the Jebali family, without showing their identity or legal documents.

Reuters reported his lawyer stating that Jebali, a former senior member of the Ennahda party, was detained on suspicion of money laundering.

Jebali's arrest raises the opposition's concerns over the human rights record since President Kais Saied seized control of executive power last year after freezing and dissolving the parliament.

"Jebali told us he will not answer the investigators' questions, and he entered into a hunger strike as the issue has a political motivation and nothing to do with money laundering," according to Jebali's lawyer Mokhtar Jemai.

Ennahda was the largest party in Tunisia's parliament before President Saied dissolved the assembly and seized executive powers last year, in a move the party and other critics condemned as a coup.

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