Tunisia: Saied hits back at US about crackdown on dissidents

Tunisia: Saied hits back at US about crackdown on dissidents

In an extraordinary move, the Tunisian president has lashed out at Western governments – most probably Washington – for what he deems meddling with the internal affairs of Tunisia, in particular criticising the deluge of arrests of journalists, businessmen and political dissidents.

Tunisian President Kais Saied on February 16th accused foreign countries of interference and causing “harm to the country’s sovereignty”.

He was speaking in a meeting with Prime Minister Najla Bouden, after international condemnation of the recent arrest of opposition figures in the country, according to wire reports.

“Tunisia’s sovereignty is above all considerations and the state operates in full respect of the law and the facts will come as a resounding earthquake soon,” Mr Saied told Ms Bouden.

“Let them [foreign countries] take a look at their history and reality first before examining Tunisia’s history and current situation,” he added.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price told Reuters earlier this week that Washington was “deeply concerned” about the reported arrests of political figures, businessmen and journalists in Tunisia, and the US had communicated its support of human rights and freedom of expression to the government.

Since Saturday police have detained a number of leading figures with links to the opposition or to critics of Mr Saied, including prominent politicians, a powerful businessman and the head of Tunisia’s largest private radio station.

The Tunisian president said the international reaction to these arrests was a form of meddling and Tunisia was capable of diagnosing the causes of deterioration and finding solutions to its people’s demands.

Mr Saied also called on the countries that really want to help Tunisia to return its looted money (embezzled by the pre-2011 Ben Ali regime) or to forgive its debts that have been accumulating one year after the other.

Agencies/The National


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