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Tunisia: ex-president to be questioned over passports for foreigners

December 6, 2022 at 5:24 pm

Image of Professor Yousef Nada [alresalah]

Tunisia’s former President Hammadi Jbali is facing a Tunisian court to explain a potential link between himself and Youssef Nada and Ghaleb Hemmet, two men who obtained Tunisian passports in the 1970s which were renewed at the end of 2012 months after the decision of the European Court of Human Rights that Egyptian businessman Nada’s rights had been violated by the Swiss authorities, which placed restrictions on his movement across borders.

That decision was taken after Nada was accused by the US of helping to finance the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He was placed on a sanctions list approved by the UN Security Council, which placed travel restrictions on those listed.

In Nada’s case no evidence against him was ever found, but he remained trapped in an Italian enclave within Switzerland for several years. “Switzerland should have taken all possible measures, within the latitude available to it, to adapt the sanctions regime to the applicant’s individual situation,” ruled the court in Strasbourg. The Swiss government was ordered to pay Nada $31,550 to cover his costs and expenses.

A court in Tunisia is now checking if Nada, 92, has any link with terrorism. Critics of President Kais Saied describe this as “nonsense” and an example of him using the law for political purposes.

On 23 January, Arabi21 published a series of documents which appear to confirm that Nada and Hemmat were granted the Tunisian nationality legally, with official approval of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice and the Tunisian consulates in the Austrian capital, Vienna, and the Swiss city of Bern.

These official documents included the certificate of nationality issued by the Tunisian ambassador in Vienna to Youssef Nada, the registration card signed by the Tunisian ambassador in April 1981, the certificate of Tunisian nationality issued by the Ministry of Justice in Tunisia on 19 February 1983, and the letter from the head of the Nationality Authority in Tunisia on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs on 14 March 1983.

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