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Tunisia: defence team claims ‘falsification’ in charges against ex-PM

February 2, 2023 at 12:35 pm

Tunisian Minister of Defence Imed Memmich [Youtube]

The legal defence team of former Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Laarayedh has claimed that there are “falsifications” in the charges against him, Anadolu has reported. The leader of Ennahda Movement is accused in a case involving allegations of sending Tunisian citizens to areas of tension and terrorism in the region, known to be a reference to Syria and Iraq.

“The defence team discovered falsifications in the data of the charges against Ali Laarayedh,” said lawyer Samir Dilou yesterday. “We have data proving that the charge against him is malicious and that he has been held in detention for political reasons, not due to evidence.”

Dilou explained that the case began after a “slander” from an unnamed political opponent against Ennahda, based on information obtained from Facebook and a mixture of rumours, lies and cutting and pasting in a report submitted by a representative of the Republican Security Association. “This person had previously accused Laarayedh of stealing 1,000 tons of jewellery and precious stones,” he added. “We have, therefore, filed a falsification lawsuit to the Public Prosecutor at the Court of First Instance in Tunis.”

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At the time of publication, the Tunisian judiciary had not issued any comment on what Dilou said.s

Ennahda announced in December that the judiciary was imprisoning Laarayedh. Interestingly, the probe into the case was initiated after former MP Fatima Al-Masdi of the Nidaa Tounes movement submitted a complaint in December 2021 to the military judiciary. This was then transferred to the anti-terrorism judiciary because the defendants included civilians. Senior Ennahda figure Rached 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 put together by Ennahda, 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.