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Ghannouchi advisor: We are innocent of 'dispatch' case; Tunisia on the brink of social explosion

Riadh Chaibi, chairman of the Organising Committee of the 9th Congress of the Islamist party Ennahda, speaks during a press confernce in Tunis on July 9, 2012 [FETHI BELAID/AFP/GettyImages]
Riadh Chaibi, chairman of the Organising Committee of the 9th Congress of the Islamist party Ennahda, speaks during a press confernce in Tunis on July 9, 2012 [FETHI BELAID/AFP/GettyImages]

Riadh Chaibi, the adviser to the President of the Ennahda Movement and a leader in the Opposition "National Salvation Front" said that the Movement is innocent of the "dispatch" case, noting that the purpose of raising this case is an attempt to defamation of the Movement.

He also confirmed that Tunisia is on the brink of a "social explosion" that could topple the existing authority and cause a general collapse in the country.

"The dispatch case is political, not a criminal one, because it is a figment of the imagination of its owners, and there are no facts that confirm their claim. All the investigations that they conducted, so far, did not contain any direct charge against the Ennahda Movement nor against any of its leaders, and the detention of the former Prime Minister and the insistence to prosecute the rest of the leaders are all political measures that are null and void," said Chaibi, in an exclusive interview with Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, to be published later.

He pointed out that "the Movement's opponents who adopt an exclusionary vision want to settle their accounts with it. In this regard, they are supported by an authority that took over the rule and overturned the democratic path on 25 July, 2021. This political targeting, supported by an organised media campaign, aims to defame the Ennahda Movement and the reputation of its President, Sheikh Rached Ghannouchi. Their goal also expanded to liquidate the rest of the democratic transition process and its symbols."

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"To reach the extent of political and show trials and the threat to dissolve the Movement is something that cannot be predicted now. However, the Ennahda Movement is a broad social current, and a political decision cannot exclude it, since experience has already proven the failure of this method," Chaibi added.

The Tunisian authorities had summoned the Head of the Ennahda Movement, Rached Ghannouchi, and his two deputies, Ali Laarayedh and Noureddine Bhiri, along with other leaders in the Movement and dozens of politicians and jurists, for investigation in the case of "dispatch to hotbeds of tension", based on a complaint that was filed earlier by the former MP, Fatima Al-Masadi.

"We have resisted Bourguiba for decades. He fell while the democratic movement continued. Likewise, we resisted Ben Ali and did not stop until his fall. Our fate is to resist until this coup is toppled, and to reinforce the internal front by attempting to gather the opposition to face this danger that undermines our democracy. We will continue to focus on the people's concerns and their economic and social rights until we recover our dignity and democracy completed, not divided," said Chaibi, regarding the options currently available to the National Salvation Front.

He added: "This coup was born dead and, therefore, it does not have the factors to continue; its attempts to fabricate cases for its opponents are nothing but to escape facing urgent social and economic problems, while it cannot secure most basic living materials such as sugar, oil, milk and even water. The prices of the available commodities have surged because of the impact of inflation and the absence of an economic and financial policy by the government. The authority is trying to direct attention to fabricated cases to distract people from demanding their rights. But what we see of people's restlessness, and the rapid deterioration of the government establishments and public facilities are all indications that a social explosion is approaching, coinciding with unprecedented political tension."

Chaibi further explained: "The social explosion is knocking on the doors of Tunisia, and this authority, if it intends to deal responsibly (unexpected) with reality, has no choice but to step down and give an opportunity to a national salvation government that is credible and trusted by national public opinion and international partners. This could expedite financing of the national economy, and for holding early presidential and legislative elections that restore the authority of the owner of sovereignty – the Tunisian people – to avoid a general collapse that may affect everything."

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