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Tunisia: Ghannouchi attacks president over arrests

February 15, 2023 at 11:08 am

Rached Ghannouchi, head of Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda party, in Sfax on 5 June 2022 [HOUSSEM ZOUARI/AFP/Getty Images]

The head of Tunisia’s Ennahda Movement, Rached Ghannouchi, has launched a strongly-worded attack on President Kais Saied after the arrests of prominent individuals, including the deputy head of the movement, Noureddine Bhiri.

The abduction of Bhiri to an unknown destination and the serious assault of his wife and children coincided with the abduction of political activist Lazhar Akremi and the director of the Mosaique FM media foundation, Noureddine Boutar, explained Ghannouchi.

Tunisia's president Kais Saied is bleeding the country - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Tunisia’s president Kais Saied is bleeding the country – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

“What Kais Saied is doing is evidence of chaos and the inability to confront the crises that emerged after the coup,” said the veteran politician. “Ennahda renews its commitment to face this tampering and systematic abuse, and expresses its willingness to sacrifice for saving the country from the disaster that occurred after the 25 July coup.” This was a reference to the “emergency measures” imposed by Saied on 25 July 2021, which gave him absolute and sole control over Tunisia.

“The authority behind the brutal coup has let the people down and deceived them about an improvement in their living conditions and the prosperity of their economy in return for the liquidation of peaceful political opponents,” Ghannouchi added.

According to Saied, the latest detainees are behind the economic difficulties facing Tunisia. He accused them of trying to stoke a social crisis, Reuters reported.

In a related context, the defence attorney for judge Bashir Akremi who has been dismissed by the authorities in Tunisia has said that his client’s case has nothing to do with the assassination of Chokri Belaid. It is, explained Awlad Ali, related to the investigation into the Bardo terrorist operation.

READ: Tunisia president says detainees were behind shortages, price rises

The attorney pointed out that his client refused to answer in the two investigations authorised to be opened against him. Akremi’s arrest, he added, is “political”. The judge went on hunger strike on Sunday, and his defence committee moved immediately to review his case.

Events have accelerated in Tunisia, especially after a series of arrests over the past two days. Prominent people such as opposition politician Abdel Hamid Jelassi, activist Khayyam Al-Turki, businessman Kamal Al-Latif and former diplomat Moncef Attia have been detained. National data indicates that Tunisia is heading towards even more confusion and uncertainty.