Tunisia: Ennahda chief jailed, Saied denies “political” slur


The unrelenting purge of anyone in Tunisia who doesn’t support its incumbent dictator Kais Saeid continues to shock the international community, with news now of the move to destroy the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate in Tunisia and jail its leader.

The investigative judge at the Court of First Instance in Tunis ordered the imprisonment of the head of the Ennahda movement, Rached Ghannouchi, thursday April 20th charging him with “conspiracy against the state”.

In a statement to Arabi21 lawyer and member of Ghannouchi’s defence team, Monia Bouali, confirmed that the investigative judge at the Court of First Instance in Tunis issued a prison sentence against Ghannouchi after he was interrogated for over 20 hours. She added that the case file “is completely empty”.

Ghannouchi’s official Facebook reported that when he was informed of the prison sentence he said: “Everything that happens to a believer is good. Good is in what God has decreed. You can issue your judgement as a judge here in this worldly life, but I am optimistic about the future.”

Twelve people, including Ghannouchi, were referred to investigation on charges of “committing a conspiracy to attack the internal security of the state and a deliberate assault that intends to change the state’s structure and force residents to attack each other.”

Following the ruling, the leader of the Ennahda movement, Munther Al-Wanissi, said: “We are going through a dangerous stage, and there is a movement to target politicians.”

On the evening of the 17th of April, Ennahda announced that a security squad stormed Ghannouchi’s home, and took him to an unknown destination. He was later interrogated without his lawyer present.

Later, the security forces stormed Ennahda’s headquarters following a press conference by the party regarding the arrest of Ghannouchi. The forces closed the headquarters and banned meetings from taking place there in the future.

Since 11 February, the Tunisian authorities have carried out a campaign of arrests that included party leaders, two judges, a businessman, a lawyer and an activist.

Tunisian President Kais Saied denies that the arrests are politically motivated, however, the opposition accuses him of using the judiciary to prosecute his opponents.

On the 19th, the investigating judge issued a ruling ordering the release of the party’s leaders, Muhammad Al-Qumani, Belkasim Hasan and Muhammad Shniba, as well as Muwafaq Billah Kaabi and Abdullah Al-Sukhairi, who were arrested in relation to the same case. They, however, remain detained pending the completion of administrative procedures, according to the defence team.



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