A Tunisian court points to alleged “electoral crimes” by about 20 politicians
, Jan 6 () –
The Tunisian authorities have announced the opening of cases against about 20 people for alleged “electoral crimes”, including Rachid Ghanuchi, leader of the Islamist Ennahda party and Speaker of Parliament suspended in July by Tunisian President Kais Saied.
A Tunisian court has confirmed that it had received the cases after a request from the Public Prosecutor’s Office and has detailed that among those investigated is also the magnate Nabil Karui, leader of Qalb Tunes – the second party with the most seats in Parliament – and who is He faced Saied in the second round in the last presidential elections.
The magnate was arrested during the electoral campaign for alleged laundering and tax evasion and released shortly before the vote, in what his supporters denounced as an attempt to silence him for his criticism of the Government and his aspiration to access the Presidency.
Those investigated also include Yusef Chahed, who was prime minister between August 2016 and February 2020, and Hamadi Yebali, who was prime minister between 2011 and 2013, in addition to having been Ennahda’s secretary general.
Also on the list are former Prime Ministers Mehdi Yomaa and Elías Fajfaj and former President Moncef Marzuki, sentenced in December to four years in prison for “endangering the security of the State” after being critical of Saied since he assumed in July all powers after dissolving the Government and suspending Parliament.
Another prominent name is Abdelkrim Zbidi, who was Minister of Health under the Zine el Abidine ben Alí regime and who assumed the Defense portfolio between September 2017 and October 2019, according to the Tunisian state news agency. , TAP.
The court has indicated that all these people will be tried for the alleged publication of electoral propaganda during the reflection day during the last elections, amid the increase in complaints about the political repression against opponents of Saied.
Among the most prominent cases is that of the former Tunisian Justice Minister Nurredín Bhiri, one of Ennahda’s top officials, who was arrested last week and who is hospitalized in a “critical” condition, according to his family and Islamist training.
Saida Akremi, Bhiri’s wife, assured on Tuesday in statements granted to the French television channel France 24 that the politician is “between life and death”, while calling his arrest a “kidnapping” and held “responsible “to Saied of his situation.
“My husband was kidnapped and continues to be illegally kidnapped, since I consider him missing because I have no information about his status,” said Bhiri’s wife, 63, and vice president of Ennahda. Akremi herself carried out a sit-in on Wednesday at the Bizerte hospital where her husband is admitted.
Tunisian Interior Minister Taufik Charfedín stressed on Monday that Bhiri was detained “within the framework of the law” and after investigations into the illegal delivery of passports, nationality certificates and identity documents. “There are strong suspicions of a terrorist nature regarding the delivery of nationality certificates and passports to suspicious persons,” he said.
For his part, Saied stressed on Wednesday that Bhiri will be given all the medical attention he needs, after the politician began a hunger strike to protest his arrest, according to the Tunisian radio station Mosaique FM. “Justice is guaranteed for all, regardless of the position or fortune of each one,” he said.
Since Saied announced his decision to take over all powers, something criticized by Ennahda and other political parties, several parliamentarians have been arrested in the country, since the suspension of Parliament led to the withdrawal of their immunity.
The president announced on December 13 an extension of the suspension of Parliament until elections are held, which he called for December 17, 2022, within the framework of a process that will include a constitutional referendum on July 25 of next year.
During the day on Tuesday, the main union in Tunisia, the General Union of Workers of Tunisia (UGTT), criticized Saied for his ‘road map’. “We consider that setting a date for the elections, despite reservations, is an essential step that puts an end to the exceptional situation, although it does not break with the individualist mandate and exclusion,” explained the UGTT, which charged against Saied for to approve this plan “without taking into account the components of Tunisian society.”
In this sense, the union, which in 2015 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, also lamented “the ambiguity of the mechanisms, the absence of means of supervision and the dangers of interference in the process to affect its results.”
The Tunisian Constitution of 2014 only allows the suspension of Parliament for 30 days, a period widely exceeded, although Saied recently affirmed that said Magna Carta “has no legitimacy”, which has been criticized by several parties, including Ennahda, who dominated the majority. of seats in the legislative body.