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Tunisia: Ennahda condemns arrest of former PM

September 22, 2022 at 11:28 am

Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi’s deputy Ali Laarayedh talks to press in front of the Anti-Terrorism Branch as Ghannouchi and Laarayedh were summoned by Tunisian authorities for questioning on terrorism accusations in Tunis, Tunisia on September 19, 2022. [Yassine Gaidi – Anadolu Agency]

Ennahda movement in Tunisia has condemned the arrest of its deputy chairman and former Prime Minister Ali Laarayedh, Anadolu has reported. The arrest, said Ennahda, is only in the interest of those whose goal is to monopolise government in the country and exclude all political opponents,

Defence lawyer Samir Dilou said on Tuesday that the Public Prosecution had decided to arrest Laarayedh and refer him to the anti-terrorism police on suspicion of sending Tunisians to “hotbeds of tension”, a reference to Syria and Iraq. A statement issued by Ennahda said Laarayedh’s arrest serves the interests of the groups who wish to exclude the movement even though it acted as a stabilising factor throughout the post-revolution period. It confirmed that it is opposed to sending Tunisians to Iraq and Syria.

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Moreover, Ennahda pointed out that Laarayedh was the first to alert people to the danger of Ansar Al-Sharia militants in 2012, when he was Interior Minister. He then designated the group as a terrorist organisation.

According to the statement by the movement, the accusations against its leaders are hollow and lack evidence. It warned that the authorities are trying to use the judiciary to fabricate charges against political opponents and divert attention from the stifling social and economic crisis facing the country.

Investigations into Tunisians going to Iraq and Syria began after former parliamentarian Fatima Al-Masadi of Nidaa Tounes filed a complaint in December last year. The military judiciary referred the complaint to the anti-terrorism police because the defendants included civilians.

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