“Tunisia’s Ennahdha Party Leader Rached Ghannouchi Shockingly Placed Under Arrest Warrant”

"tunisia's Ennahdha Party Leader Rached Ghannouchi Shockingly Placed Under Arrest Warrant"

The leader of the Islamist party Ennahdha, Rached Ghannouchi, the main opponent of Tunisian President Kais Saied, has been placed in custody, according to his party’s announcement on April 20th, 2023.

Reporter stationed at Tunis, Amira Souilem

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In Tunisia, it is still the arrest of Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of the Islamist Ennahdha party, that is making headlines. A former president of the National Assembly, he was one of the figures of post-revolutionary Tunisia. His fate is now in the hands of the justice system which has just issued a warrant for his arrest.

After a night of questioning, Rached Ghannouchi is now in preventive detention awaiting trial. Detention can last up to fourteen months under Tunisian law.

The leader of Ennahdha was questioned all night as part of an investigation into “plotting against the internal security of the state”. Until now, he had remained silent, refusing to speak in the absence of his lawyers. An absence made possible by Tunisian anti-terrorism legislation.

The information that the press has comes mainly from Ennahdha. For the moment, the authorities are communicating very little. Shortly after the arrest on April 17th, a senior official at the Ministry of the Interior stated that it was remarks made over the weekend that led to Rached Ghannouchi’s arrest.

In the presence of other opponents, he had declared that there was a risk of “civil war” if the repression against dissidents continued and if the Islamist movement were to be eradicated. Remarks with undertones of threats in the eyes of the Tunisian authorities.

His health is said to be “worrying”, according to a former Ennahdha MP.

This spectacular arrest of Rached Ghannouchi at his home on Monday evening, during the breaking of the fast, has overshadowed that of other party leaders. Since the beginning of this week, six other members of Ennahdha have also been apprehended.

On April 19th, at least three of them regained their freedom, according to Ennahdha. Rached Ghannouchi, however, remains in custody for the time being. His health is said to be “worrying” according to Saida Ounissi, a former MP and minister of the Ennahdha party.

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