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Tunisia detains Abir Moussi, prominent opponent of President

October 4, 2023 at 4:03 pm

Abir Moussi, Tunisian leader of the Free Destourian Party (PDL) attends a parliament session on June 25, 2020 in the Tunisian capital Tunis [FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images]

Tunisia’s Public Prosecutor detained Abir Moussi, a prominent opponent of President Kais Saied, after she was arrested at the entrance to the presidential palace on Tuesday, lawyers said, the latest arrest targeting Saied’s political rivals, Reuters reports.

“Moussi was detained for 48 hours on charges of processing personal data, obstructing the right to work and assault intended to cause chaos”, lawyer Aroussi Zgir said.

Authorities were not immediately available to comment.

Police, this year, have detained more than 20 leading political figures, accusing some of plotting against state security. Saied has described those detained as “terrorists, traitors and criminals”.

An assistant of Moussi said in a video on Facebook that Moussi was “kidnapped” in front of the Carthage Palace.

Moussi leads the Free Constitutional Party and is a supporter of late President, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was toppled by mass protests in 2011.

In recent months, the Party has organised protests against Saied. Moussi accuses Saied of ruling outside the law, and said that she is ready to make personal sacrifices to save Tunisia.

READ: 5 Tunisian political detainees begin hunger strike

In front of the La Goulette police station, dozens of angry Moussi supporters protested, shouting slogans against Saied, amid a heavy police contingent who cordoned off the building.

Earlier on Tuesday, Moussi said in a video that she went to the presidential reception office to file an appeal in local elections expected at the end of the year. She said that this step was necessary so that she could later file an appeal in the Administrative Court.

Saied, a retired law professor who was elected President in 2019, shut down the elected parliament in 2021 and moved to rule by decree, actions his opponents described as a coup. Saied has said he needed to save Tunisia from years of chaos, denying his actions were a coup.

On Friday, jailed opposition leader, Rached Ghannouchi, another critic of Saied, began a three-day hunger strike. Later, five other prominent opposition figures also went on hunger strike in prison.

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]