Tunisia Islamist opposition leader jailed …for criticising President Saied

A Tunisian investigative judge ordered on Thursday the imprisonment of Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of main op­position party, Ennahda, and a prominent critic of President Kais Saied, the politician’s lawyer told Reuters.

Ghannouchi, who was arrested on Monday, is accused of plotting against internal state security and the decision to imprison him followed an investiga­tion that lasted eight hours, she added.

Police have this year detained several leading political figures who have accused President Saied of a coup for his moves to close Parliament and rule by decree before rewriting the constitution.

“It was a ready decision to imprison Ghannouchi only because of Ghan­nouchi’s expression of his opinion,” lawyer Monia Bouali told Reuters.

Ghannouchi’s official Facebook page published a comment by him after the judge’s decision, which said: “I am optimistic about the future … Tunisia is free”.

The 81-year-old was the Speaker of the elected Parliament, which was shut down in 2021 by President Saied when he seized all powers. Tunisian author­ities on Tuesday banned meetings at all offices of Islamist party, Ennahda, and police closed the head­quarters of the Salvation Front, the main opposition coalition.

Ennahda fears the move will pave the way for banning the party, the party said.

The U.S. said Ghannou­chi’s arrest, the closure of Ennahda’s headquarters and the banning of meet­ings by opposition groups represented a troubling escalation. —Reuters

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