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Tunisia: detained Ennahda leader begins hunger strike

May 17, 2023 at 9:54 am

Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party, arrives for a press conference with his deputies Sahbi Atigue (R) and Fethi Ayadi (L) on March 26, 2012 in Tunis [FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images]

A leader in the Tunisian Ennahda Movement, Sahbi Atigue, yesterday began a hunger strike to protest his imprisonment on “malicious” charges, his lawyer Mohsen Al-Sahbani told reporters in the capital, Tunis.

Al-Sahbani quoted Atigue as saying that he “will not quit the strike unless he returns to his home”, adding that the Mornaguia prison administration is following up on his health status because he suffers from hypertension and chest disorders.

According to the lawyer, the case against Atigue is “politically motivated”, adding that his client travelled abroad last October and returned to Tunisia, and if he had intended to flee Tunisia, he would not have returned.

“Atigue is being targeted by fabricating rumours launched in 2017 stating that his house was robbed and 1.5 million Tunisian dinars were lost,” he said.

According to a previous statement by Ennahda Movement, the Tunisian authorities arrested Atigue based on a false slander from a person against whom Atigue had previously filed several defamation complaints and “the judiciary has yet to decide on any of them”.

On Friday, Atigue’s wife, Zainab Al-Maraihi, said: “The entire case is based on false and forged statements made by a 22-year-old man with a criminal record, who is currently imprisoned in a drug case.”

READ: Tunisia politicians: Ghannouchis sentence is a new attack on opposition