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Tunisia Court of Appeal upholds 3-year prison sentence against Ghannouchi

May 18, 2024 at 2:12 pm

A woman is holding a sign of Rached Ghannouchi to show support for Ennahdha Movement leader Rached Ghannouchi in front of the Anti-Terrorism Judicial Pole at Charguia in Tunis, Tunisia on 21 February 2023 [Hasan Mrad/DeFodi Images via Getty Images]

The official Tunisian news agency, Tunis Afrique Presse, announced on Friday that the Court of Appeal upheld a preliminary ruling sentencing the head of the Ennahda movement, Sheikh Rashid Ghannouchi, to three years in prison.

The agency reported that a ruling was issued upholding the imprisonment of Ghannouchi and his son-in-law, former Foreign Minister Rafik Abdel Salam (who is abroad), for three years each, in the case known as the “lobbying case”.

Spokesperson of the Court of Appeal in the capital Habib Tarkhani confirmed that the prison sentence was issued due to the case related to foreign financing.

Tarkhani added that the ruling includes a fine of more than $1 million for Ghannouchi and his son-in-law, which is the alleged value of the funds the Ennahda president is accused of receiving from abroad.

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In the same context, the indictment team responsible for examining terrorism cases at the Tunisian Court of Appeal decided to refer 12 defendants to the judiciary, including leaders of the Ennahda movement, on terrorism-related charges.

Tarkhani stated that the indictment team decided on Thursday to refer Vice-President of the Ennahda Movement Munther Al-Wanissi(detained), Rafik Abdel Salam, Sheherazade Okasha, Ahmed Qaloul, Tariq Bou Bahri, Reda Idris, Moaz Al-Khereiji, Maher Zaid, Muhammad Fathi Al-Ayadi and Muhammad Al-Samiti, (all of whom are abroad) to the department responsible for examining terrorism cases in the Tunisian Court of First Instance.

This is in addition to two other unidentified defendants referred to in what is known in the media as the “conspiracy against state security” case.

Last April, Ghannouchi completed a full year of detention amid a popular trade union movement that continued to demand his release and that of the other detainees.