Tunisian Opposition Leader Jailed
A Tunisian court sentenced Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the opposition Ennahda party, to a year in jail and a fine of 1K dinars (~$300) on charges of plotting against state security. Ghannouchi has said that the proceedings against him have been fabricated.
- A Tunisian court sentenced Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the opposition Ennahda party, to a year in jail and a fine of 1K dinars (~$300) on charges of plotting against state security. Ghannouchi has said that the proceedings against him have been fabricated.1
- Ghannouchi was originally arrested last month over comments he allegedly made calling police officers "tyrants." He also warned that a "civil war" could emerge if the government worked to eradicate left-wing and Islamist opposition groups.2
- Ennahda said earlier this week that an "unknown" party used Ghannouchi's personal phone, saying that "the two SIM cards of the head of the Ennahda movement, Rashed Ghannouchi, were operated by an unknown party."3
- Tunisian authorities last month also banned meetings at all Ennahda offices and police closed the headquarters of the Salvation Front — the main opposition coalition — in what critics and rights groups have characterized as a de facto ban.4
- Since February, a number of politicians, former ministers, businessmen, trade unionists, and the owner of Tunisia's most popular radio station, Mosaique FM, have been arrested by local authorities. Pres. Saied said those detained were involved in a "conspiracy against state security."5
- Saied also suspended parliament in July 2021 before holding a referendum this past summer, allowing him to change the constitution. He has continually defended his actions as necessary against a backdrop of civil unrest and an unstable economy.6
Sources: 1Africa News, 2DW, 3Middle East Monitor, 4Reuters, 5France 24, and 6Al Jazeera.
- Narrative A, as provided by Guardian. President Saied is, yet again, using his power to strengthen his iron grip over Tunisia. Though he's said that he doesn't want to become an autocrat, his unscrupulous actions speak far louder. Using the growing pains of Tunisia's young democracy as a pretext, he has taken over the North African nation and is cracking down on dissent to guarantee his control over civil society. A national dialogue must be undertaken to save Tunisian democracy and align it with the norms of the international community.
- Narrative B, as provided by Al Mayadeen English. Tunisians are tired of the corruption and dysfunction brought by the country's "post-Arab Spring parties," namely the Islamist Ennahda party. Ennahda, which dominated Tunisian politics over the last 10 years, has worked against the Tunisian people. The country was on the brink of collapse before Saied dissolved parliament, and his actions were and continue to be necessary to maintain order and stability.