The head of Tunisia’s Ennahda, Rached Ghannouchi, has defended the movement by pointing out that it has no link to sending people to “hotbeds of tension”, and nor do any of its officials.
Ghannouchi added that describing Ennahda as a terrorist organisation is an attempt to exclude a political opponent that the authorities have failed to overcome through the ballot box.
In his first public statement since he was interrogated in the “hotbeds of tension” case, Ghannouchi said that he spent two days answering questions relating to an unclear case. “The questions had no grounds, and there was no evidence to back up the charges. We are against violence and terrorism. Indeed, we are the victims of violence and terrorism.”
Ennahda is the largest and oldest party in the country, he added. “They failed to overcome it through the ballot box, so they accuse us of terrorism to get rid of an authentic and strong political opponent. However, the attempts have been thwarted by the judiciary.”
The Tunisian authorities have interrogated dozens of politicians and human rights defenders, including Ghannouchi and his deputy, Ali Laarayedh, over the sending of people to “hotbeds of tension”, generally believed to be a reference to Iraq and Syria. According to opposition groups in Tunisia, this is a new episode in the series which seeks to exclude Ennahda from the political scene.