Tunisia: Families demand release of jailed opposition figures

Families demand release, Ghannouchi

Families of the imprisoned opposition figures to the Saied regime demand for their relatives release, according to Asharq Al-Awsat and agencies.

In a press conference held on 21st February, family members pleaded for the release of their family members from Saied’s “arbitrary detention”, as over 20 opposition figures have been wrongfully imprisoned for at least a year “without any crime or charge.”

Politician, Jawhar Ben Mbarek and Ennahda Movement leader, Rached Ghannouchi remain locked up alongside other “terrorists” who have dared to challenge President Saied’s government.

Ben Mbarek’s father told AFP at the press conference that the incarceration of so many political figures is “a crime against humanity.” He also commented on President Saied’s effective political domination technique of “arresting all of his political opponents.”

In solidarity with his other inmates, 82-year-old Ghannouchi commenced his hunger strike on 19th February. Six other opposition figures, consisting of other politicians, lawyers and leaders, began their hunger strike on 12th February in demand for their release.

READ: Muslim Scholars Demand Release of Ghannouchi

A lawyer from the detainees’ defence committee revealed during the press conference that “the hunger strike is starting to take its toll on their health, but they insist on continuing.” These actions of desperation and strength can only highlight the severity of Tunisia’s political situation. Rights groups such as Amnesty International have criticised Saied’s authoritarian rule.

On 8th February, a Tunisian court declined all demands for Ghannouchi’s release after his (and his son-in-law’s) arrest was extended by three more years for charges of terrorism and conspiracy against Tunisia’s state security.

The Associated Press reported in October 2023 that families of the imprisoned sought justice from the International Criminal Court, revealing their plans to request an investigation into the political persecution and the violations of human rights committed by Saied’s government.

Ghannouchi’s daughter, Yusra Ghannouchi stated that the purpose of their presence in Hague was to “send a message to democratic nations and to European governments not to support and legitimise Kais Saied,” just days after Ghannouchi’s three-day hunger strike in October 2023.

However, Italy and the EU continue to seek deals with Tunisia in hopes of managing migration.



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