Tunisia: Interim Ennahda leader on trial for terror charges

Tunisia Saied

The Ennahda Party’s interim leader was recently arrested for “suspicious political alliances” and stood trial on October 10, reports Asharq Al-Awsat and agencies. 

Mondher Ounissi appeared before a counter-terrorism court following his arrest in september after allegedly having suspicious alliances with a Tunisian businessman and of receiving illegal funds. 

Formerly led by political veteran, Rached Ghannouchi, The Ennahda Party (commonly known as the Muslim Brotherhood) appointed Ounissi as their new head following the arrest of Ghannouchi.

The Tunisian authorities labelled the two jailed Ennahda members, “terrorists”.

The octogenarian was arrested from his home for “plotting against state security” in late April and was then sentenced to a year in prison on May 15. 

READ: Opposition figure latest to be jailed in Tunisia

Ghannouchi, who undertook a three-day hunger strike in solidarity with fellow jailed dissenters, was on the lips and minds of many, particularly those who oppose Tunisian President Kais Saied’s recent disregard for democratic norms. 

In June, just a month after his arrest, The International Union for Muslim Scholars urged the President to release him. 

Following the arrest of Mr Ounissi, The Ennahda called the enjailment of opposition figures (specifically Ghannouchi and Ounissi) “scandalous”. 

They said, “we urge the closure of these scandalous files,” and called for the speeding up of their release. 

In 2023 alone, 20 opposition figures have been arrested as Tunisia has seen a gradual erosion of democracy since mid 2021. 

After mass arrests, the families of jailed dissidents recently went to the International Criminal Court in The Netherlands to attempt to challenge the brutal acts carried out by the Tunisian President through a special procedure. 

The families’ lawyer, Rodney Dixon stressed that “Persons have been detained unlawfully, arbitrarily mistreated, in some cases tortured. They don’t know what the charges are against them. The evidence hasn’t been presented and there’s no end in sight as to how long they will remain detained.” .   

READ: Tunisia: Families of dissidents go to The Hague after mass arrests

Asharq Al-Awsat/Reuters 


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