Influential Tunisian Islamist leader Rached Ghannouchi was detained on April 17th after a police search, according to his lawyer, reports AP.
The move against the 81-year-old former parliament speaker comes amid growing social tensions and deepening economic troubles in Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring pro-democracy movement more than a decade ago.
Ghannouchi, head of the Ennahdha party, is the most prominent critic of Tunisian President Kais Saied.
Tunisian police raided the main headquarters of the Islamist Ennahda party and started evacuating all present early on Tuesday, party officials told Reuters.
One of the party officials, Riadh Chaibi, said the police showed a judicial warrant, took everyone out and began searching the headquarters.
Ennahdha announced on Twitter that Ghannouchi had been ″taken from his home″ after a police search and said it “condemns this very dangerous development.” His lawyer Nejib Chebbi told The Associated Press that Ghannouchi was detained.
The reason for the detention was not made public. Tunisian media reported that Ghannouchi was to be questioned over a video circulating online in which he purportedly warns of civil war.
Ghannouchi has been detained in the past for questioning on suspicion of money laundering and terrorism financing through a charity. He has denied wrongdoing and his party says the accusations are politically driven.
Saied shut down the Ennahdha-led parliament in 2021 and has since moved to consolidate power amid growing public disillusionment with Tunisia’s democracy.