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Tunisia: Arrest of another prominent Ennahda leader

February 28, 2023 at 8:56 pm

Sayed Al-Ferjani [Youtube]

Tunisian authorities have arrested one of the prominent leaders of the Ennahda Movement, as well as a former minister and activists in the Republican Party, in a new episode of the ongoing series of arrests in the country.

The Movement confirmed that the security forces arrested, on Monday evening, former MP Sayed Al-Ferjani, while some sources indicated that charges were brought against him in the framework of the case related to the media company, Instalingo, accused of fomenting chaos and conspiring against state security, as it had previously been investigated with other leaders of the Movement, such as its President, Rashid Ghannouchi, who denied any connection with this case.

The Constitutional Party revealed that the authorities have arrested activists Wissam Al-Saghir, Buthaina Khaleghi and Osama Ghulam, against the background of launching a wide campaign on social networking sites to demand the release of the Secretary-General of the party, Essam Al-Shabi, detained in the framework of the case of “conspiracy against state security”.

Is Tunisia's president Kais Saied like Louis XIV, King of France? - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Is Tunisia’s president Kais Saied like Louis XIV, King of France? – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Media sources revealed the suspension of former Environment Minister, Riad Al-Mokhakh on charges related to”financial and administrative corruption” during his time at the head of the Ministry.

“The main goal of the recent arrests is to intimidate opponents and cut off the way for the emergence of any rival figure to Qais Said, in the manner of the pharaoh who deliberately killed all the men to remain the sole absolute ruler, and then spread terror in the hearts of the general public, as is the case with all dictatorships,“ said former Minister Rafiq Abdus Salam.

“What we are living today is a scandal by all standards, as the State was unable to produce a convincing scenario and narrative for public opinion about the accusations that were finally fabricated for the detainees, the charge of conspiracy against State security is a miserable charge that was pulled down the stairs and taken out again, after being used in the reigns of Bourguiba and Ben Ali, but in a neater form than today,“ said Riad Al-Shuaibi, adviser to the President of Ennahda Movement.

On the other hand, the leaking of the minutes of the investigation with the detainees in the case of “conspiracy against state security” has sparked a wide controversy, especially in light of the confirmation of the defence of the detainees that the case is devoid of evidence and is mainly based on a “snitch” by some informants, in order to settle political scores.

One of the transcripts refers to a story by an informant who called him ”xxx”, in which he talks about the existence of a “scheme” involving Tunisian and foreign figures to ”coup against the regime”, pointing out that the arrested businessman, Kamal Latif, is the one behind this scheme, who he said was leaders in the Ennahda Movement and a security figure involved in it.

READ: Tunisia probes 6 current, ex-envoys for ‘conspiracy against state security’

Manar Iskandarani, a leader in the Ennahda Movement, commented: “This novel cannot be believed by a reasonable person. This is messing with the State and its national security. The matter went beyond the level of settling accounts with opponents to implicating the strategic institutions of the state, the administration, security, army and judiciary in engaging in the madness of one person,” he said.

Lawyer Dalila Mosaddegh confirmed that the file of the conspiracy case against State security is devoid of any evidence, noting that “all the documents are images from phone screens of conversations on the WhatsApp application between the defendants in the case”.

“The case file was started with a tip-off from an informant (who is imprisoned on the same charge) who came himself and talked about having information about the existence of a conspiracy. “His denunciation is a reprisal for all those who caused his imprisonment. There is another snitch of an anonymous witness who, in turn, is involved in a case of conspiracy against State security, and is banned from travelling. This case is a fabricated operation by the Tunisian authorities against the opposition,“ he said.