Al Jazeera journalist latest victim of Saied’s ruthless regime


Qatari news outlet Al Jazeera reported on January 4 that one of their journalists was arrested in Tunis. 

Political veteran Rached Ghannouchi, political party leader Issam Chebbi and activist Chaima Issa have all been subject to arrests in the country in recent times. 

But now the country’s autocratic leader is turning on international journalists.

President Saied’s regime’s latest target is journalist Samir Sassi who was arrested on the night of January 3 in his home in the Tunisian capital by “anti terrorism” personnel. 

His wife, understandably in distress, said that a team of officers had raided the house and seized devices of everybody in the property as well as Sassi’s laptop and novels that he had written and published in the North African country. 

As well as his wife, the Al Jazeera journalist’s four children were in house at the time of the raid , Moayed el-Hak, 6,  Mortadha, 19, sister Tuqa, 16, and Mohamed, 13. It has been reported that Sassi’s youngest child has chronic health issues. 

Following his arrest, a squad of lawyers spent over ten hours pondering where Sassi had been taken to. 

READ: Opposition figure latest to be jailed in Tunisia

Al Jazeera Bureau Director Lotfi Hajji said, “They (the lawyers) went from one police station to another, one court to another, until finally they were able to find out that he had been taken to the anti-terrorism unit in Ariana,” 

Hajji added that the government is yet to publish any information regarding Sassi’s arrest and there may not be announcement made about what he has been charged with until at least 48 hours following his arrest. 

In Tunisia, those detained have no right to gain access a lawyer for 48 hours after arrest if they are arrested on terrorism-related charges. 

In 2021, President Kais Saied ramped up his authoritarian rampage and closed down Al Jazeera’s bureau in the country in July of that year amongst other institutions and organisations. 

Dozens of political dissidents have been arrested since 2021 as human rights, notably freedom of expression is becoming non-existent in Tunisia.  

Paltry voter turnouts in recent parliamentary elections in a way emphasised political dissatisfaction as many Tunisians are deeply concerned at the way their country is heading at the helm of their under-pressure, authoritarian head who has smashed democratic norms. 

Al Jazeera


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