Written by William Lucht
September 26, 2022
In the continued epic of Tunisia’s rise from the Arab Spring to its now shaking democracy, Tunisia’s anti-terrorism police have detained Ali Laarayedh, a former senior official to the opposition party Ennahdha. It has been reported that Laarayedh, a former prime minister, was interrogated for 14 hours and is set to appear before a judge in the coming week on Wednesday.
The supposed charges? Officials working for the current Tunisian President. Kais Saied have stated suspicions that Laarayedh had sent jihadist to Syria. In support of this claim security sources have reported that, “an estimated 6,000 Tunisians travelled to Syria and Iraq in the last decade to join armed groups, including ISIL (ISIS). Many were killed there while others escaped and returned to Tunisia.”
In quick response, the political opposition party Ennahdha has made claims that the arrest and charges are baseless, designed to be a political attacks, and they have condemned the interrogation and conditions of the investigation as torture and abuse along with abuses to human rights laws.
A second political figure, Rached Ghannouchi a member of the dissolved parliament, is also facing accusations revolving around sponsored terrorism. The opposition party vehemently opposes all claims and is making statements that Saied is continuing his campaign of state consolidation and authoritarian rule by manipulating constitutional law and strong manning opposition figures into silence or imprisonment.
While the Region looks on with continued worry, the once reformed Tunisian state which ousted Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 seems to be falling back into one man rule. There is however legitimate apprehension on the side of the Ennahdha party which has been reported to have been lenient towards armed fighters which the party denies.
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