Tunisia’s former house speaker Ghannouchi questioned again by anti-terrorism unit

Ennahda party leader is facing accusations that he called security forces tyrants

Tunisia’s former parliament speaker and Ennahda party leader, Rached Ghannouchi, arrives at the office of Tunisia's counter-terrorism prosecutor in Tunis. EPA
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Tunisia’s former parliament speaker and Ennahda party leader, Rached Ghannouchi, has been questioned over allegations that he referred to the country’s police as ‘tyrants’ and demonised them during a eulogy last February.

Mr Ghannouchi faced questioning in the same case in December, before his lawyers requested postponement to Tuesday, February 21.

The investigation follows an official complaint filed by a police union. He was released after questioning.

On his arrival at the antiterrorism judicial unit on Tuesday morning, Mr Ghannouchi denied the allegations and told the media that the target of this investigation is not only him and the Ennahda movement, but the opposition and Tunisia as a whole.

He considered the case “empty of any real evidence and a camouflage movement aimed at diverting attention from the real problems of the people”.

Meanwhile, a number of Ennahda party supporters staged a demonstration in front of the antiterrorism judicial unit.

Demonstrators held banners with photos of Mr Ghannouchi and a slogan that read ‘You are not alone’.

“They keep framing him since the coup without any real evidence,” 61 year-old Ennahda member, Wassila Ayari, told The National behind police barriers in front of the antiterrorism unit.

Ms Ayari and other Ennahda party supporters agreed, however, that the back-to-back investigations and arrests of prominent members of opposition is only a sign that president Kais Saied’s regime has reached an impasse.

“This is only a sign that the current regime is reaching its end, the system is starting to crumble down and our duty is to continue the struggle against this one man rule,” Ms Ayari added.

The former house speaker has appeared on multiple occasions before investigative judges on charges relating to terrorism and money laundering.

Mr Ghannouchi and his lawyers have denied all allegations, dubbing it as a tool to settle accounts with and retaliate against political opponents of president Kais Saied.

Updated: February 21, 2023, 3:00 PM