Tunisia: The detention of dissolved parliamentary speaker Rached Ghannouchi, as well as tightening restrictions on free expression, endangers the country's stability
Skyline International strongly condemns the arrest by Tunisian authorities of "Rashid Ghannouchi," the 81-year-old president of the dissolved Tunisian parliament and leader of the Ennahda movement. It stresses that such practices constitute an unacceptable violation of international legal norms guaranteeing freedom of expression and the unimpeded exercise of political life. They also represent a dangerous tipping point that the country could reach if these practices continue.
In a statement released today (Wednesday), Skyline points out that Ghannouchi's arrest came after his appearance at a Ramadan evening on Saturday this week at the headquarters of the opposition Salvation Front, where he denounced "elites" who celebrated "coups," saying, "Coups are not celebrated. ‘’Coups are thrown by stones ". "We should not tolerate these elites, nor should we meet them with tolerance," he added."
For its part, "Skyline" highlights the Tunisian Interior Ministry's statement of the day before yesterday, Tuesday, which says: "Ghannouchi was arrested on the basis of utterances that constitute assault with the intent of changing the governmental apparatus or coercing the public to attack each other with weapons and incite pandemonium, murder, and looting. " "Ghannouchi" and 4 others were remanded in custody.
In press statements, defense lawyers for "Rashid Ghannouchi," chairman of the Ennahda movement, and politicians arrested with him, said that "for the second night in a row, security authorities prevented lawyers from participating in the interrogation of their clients, despite being asked to do so." The authorities refused to comply with conditions that they regarded as violating the law and applicable procedural rules.
"Skyline" is concerned that Tunisian President Kais Said has raised the threat level in his speeches, claiming in a speech Tuesday that " Someone is seeking to destabilize the state from within in order to transform it into a collection of provinces." Said went on to say, "We are fighting a war of national liberation today to fully assert our sovereignty, and we will not give up a single part of it."
The arrest of "Ghannouchi" triggered several international sympathy and condemnation actions, beginning with the United Nations, where "Stephane Dujarric," the spokesman for the Secretary General of the United Nations, expressed the organization's deep concern about the arrest of the Ennahda movement's leader, "Rashid Ghannouchi."
Dujarric emphasized the importance of the Tunisian government and president adhering to the rule of law.
Skyline indicates that the human rights situation in Tunisia has rapidly deteriorated since the Tunisian president suspended the work of parliament and lifted the immunity of its MPs on July 25, 2021, as he took full powers. These decisions also restricted freedom of opinion and expression, censored newspapers and websites, and unlawfully restricted the right to freedom of movement and travel, in clear and unjustified violation of a wide range of rules and conventions of international law.
Despite Tunisian President Kais Said's repeated statements that "there is absolutely no room for the violation of human rights and no room for the violation of rights and freedoms," The facts suggest the opposite, especially as these restrictions directly threaten a group of fundamental rights guaranteed by international law, such as freedom of expression, freedom of opinion, and the right to assemble peacefully.