Tunisia: Legal Troubles for Dissidents Escalate


A Tunisian judge has issued international arrest warrants against prominent political figures in the country, reports Cuban news outlet, La Prensa Latina, September 12. 

12 politicians have been issued arrest warrants by the Tunisian anti-terrorist justice system for allegedly forming a terrorist alliance to conspire against the state. 

The twelve political figures include, former Tunisian Prime Minister, Youssef Chahed, who served as PM from 2016 to 2020. The Tunis-born politician founded his own party (Tahya Tounes) in June 2019, a few months prior to the election of Kais Saied as President. 

An international arrest warrant was also issued to Nadia Akacha, a Chief of Staff from 2020 to 2022, and Moadh Ghannouchi, the son of Rached Ghannouchi who was a key figure in Saied’s government and is the current leader of the Enhada Islamist Party. The right-wing party currently has no elected representatives in the Tunisian Parliament. 

READ: Tunisia: police arrest two leaders of opposition party

A court spokesperson noted that the dozen facing charges are abroad at the moment. 

Mr. Saied has been targeting political dissidents for a long period of time as his government seems incapable of tackling crises domestically. 

President Saied’s government announced on August 23 that they would crackdown on internet users who criticise government officials. 

READ:Tunisia: Saied turns the screws on those who criticise him online

Tunisia’s Ministries of Justice, Interior and Technology said in late August that measures have been set out to identify internet users who criticise government officials, including the sharing of posts bashing officials and the President and those who spread “fake news and rumours”. 

In fellow North African country, Morocco, similar crackdowns on speech are in place as previously journalists and regular internet users have faced the brunt of Morocco’s harsh speech laws. 

In 2019 Moroccan journalist Hajar Raissouni, a critic of the government, was arrested on false charges of having sex before marriage and an illegal abortion. 

The arrest was seen as a move to silence opposition voices. 

This year, Reporters Without Borders, an NGO committed to securing press freedom worldwide, ranked Morocco 144th out of 180 countries according to World Press Freedom Index.   

Many have also seen harsh sentences handed to them for criticism directed at King Mohammed VI of Morocco. 



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