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Tunisia Ennahda supporters call for release of movement’s deputy chairman

January 20, 2023 at 11:42 am

Ali Laarayedh, Deputy Chairman of the Ennahda Movement in Tunis, Tunisia on September 26, 2022 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

Dozens of Tunisia’s Ennahda movement supporters protested on Thursday in the capital, Tunis, in solidarity with imprisoned former prime minister and vice president of the Ennahda Movement, Ali Laarayedh, and demanding his release, Anadolu news reported.

Laarayedh was put in pre-trial detention in September. He has been held on charges in the case of “sending Tunisians to areas of tension” in Iraq and Syria.

According to the Anadolu correspondent, the protesters who gathered in front of the Ministry of Justice headquarters, raised slogans such as “Down with the coup,” “The people want what you don’t want”, and “Freedoms, not orders” and demanded the cessation of political trials in the country.

A movement leader, Ajmi Al-Wuraimi, said the imprisonment of activists and opponents and the liquidation of political opponents will not improve the situation of Tunisians.

He demanded holding early, free, transparent and fair elections supervised by an independent body and a salvation government.

“All indications indicate that the country is going from bad to worse, and there is no way but to unify ranks and agree on a solution that will get the country out of its impasse,” he said.

READ: Tunisia former prime minister arrested 

He expressed the movement’s conviction that President Kais Saied “is not part of the solution,” adding that even his supporters and the parties who had initially supported him have come to see that he is “a problem and does not listen to the people’s aspirations and the opposition and experts’ proposals.”

Criticising the current economic situation, Al-Wuraimi said, “Today we have become a country begging and living on simple food aid from neighbouring countries and partners.”

Probes into the case of “sending Tunisians to areas of tension” were initiated after a former MP Fatima Al-Masdi of the Nidaa Tounes movement submitted a complaint in December 2021 to the military judiciary, before transferring it to the anti-terrorism judiciary.

Ennahda leader Rachid Ghannouchi is among a number of officials being questioned in the case.

Laarayedh served as Interior Minister between December 2011 and March 2013, within the coalition government between the Ennahda Movement, the Congress for the Republic Party, and the Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties. He also served as prime minister from March 2013 to January 2014.

READ: Ennahda says that Saied’s coup took Tunisia backwards