Tunisian opposition leader Rached Ghannouchi barred from leaving country

Rached Ghannouchi is among 34 people placed under a travel ban as part of inquiry related to 2013 assassinations

Rached Ghannouchi, leader of Tunisia's Ennahdha party, gestures after being questioned at the judicial police headquarters in Tunis on April 1, over an online meeting held by members of the dissolved parliament. EPA
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

A court has imposed a travel ban on the leader of Tunisia's opposition Ennahda party, in what officials say is a case related to the assassination of two politicians in 2013.

Rached Ghannouchi is among 34 people who have been barred from leaving the country, Tunisia's TAP news agency quoted a court representative as saying.

The order is related to an inquiry into alleged obstruction of justice in connection with the killings and was issued by the investigating judge at the First Instance Court in Ariana, a suburb of the capital Tunis, on Friday.

Tunisia's judiciary in January opened an investigation against the suspects for allegedly "concealing information" linked to the killing nine years ago of Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi.

ISIS claimed responsibility for both killings but Ennahda critics, including a brother of one of the victims, accused the party of having "manipulated and slowed down" the case.

Ennahda has dominated Tunisian politics since the 2011 uprising that overthrew autocratic former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.

Mr Ghannouchi, 81, served as Speaker of Tunisia's parliament before President Kais Saied suspended the legislature, sacked the prime minister and assumed executive powers in July last year.

Mr Saied cited an "imminent threat" to the country for his move. He dissolved the parliament on March 31 this year and plans to hold a referendum on a new constitution in July.

Updated: May 28, 2022, 11:49 AM