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Tunisia military investigates political activist 

January 28, 2023 at 9:48 am

Tunisian military in Tataouine, Tunisia on July 16, 2020 [Nacer Talel/Anadolu Agency]

The military court in Tunisia investigated a member of the National Salvation Front, Chaimaa Issa, on Friday, after she made a statement on the radio criticising the policies of President Kais Saied.

Several charges were brought against the opposition member: “Inciting the military to disobey orders, insulting the head of state and promoting and spreading false news and rumours through networks and information and communication systems to harm public security or national defence.”

Issa entered the court for interrogation with a large number of defence lawyers, led by the former head of the National Bar Association, Abderrazak Kilani, and lawyer and Head of the Salvation Front Ahmed Najeeb Al-Shabi.

Kilani shared in an exclusive statement to Arabi 21: “Chaimaa appeared in court in accordance with the ominous Decree 54, which undermines freedom of opinion and expression. We are committed to the freedom of opinion and will not give it up.”

He warned against making the military judiciary an arena for settling political scores and urged: “We warn of the danger of the issue, especially since, according to the Constitution of the revolution, the army is a popular force and does not interfere in politics, standing at the same distance from everyone.”

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In turn, lawyer Samir Dilo confirmed in an exclusive statement to Arabi 21 that Issa’s case is purely political and the aim of her appearance before the military court is intimidation.

Dilo continued: “The military court is being used as a sword on the necks and tongues of political opponents. We are here to say that the trial is unfair.”

“Those who want to tarnish the military courts are the ones who are tarnishing the country’s image, and they are the ones who make the whole world talk about a woman appearing before the military court for the first time, according to Decree 54,” he added.

It is worth noting that Decree 54 relates to: “Combating crimes related to information and communication systems, and the penalty reaches ten years and major financial fines, it caused major controversy in Tunisia and widespread rejections. There are constant calls to abolish it.”