Tunisian president tries to reassure those that fear for democracy

TUNIS, Tunisia — Mohsen al-Daly, spokesman for the Court of First Instance and the Judicial Counter-Terrorism Division in Tunisia, mentioned in an Aug. 3 assertion to Jawhara FM that the Judicial Counter-Terrorism Division opened two terrorism instances associated to 2 members of the suspended parliament, with out revealing their identification. He mentioned, “The Financial Judicial Body is facing cases of money laundering, conflict of interest and fraud in which several members of parliament are implicated.” 

President Kais Saied had taken selections July 25 to raise immunity from the members of parliament, take over the manager authority and droop parliament for 30 days.

Faycal Tebini, a member of parliament representing the Farmers Voice Party, mentioned in a Facebook publish Aug. 2 that he was arrested on costs of “defamation on social media.” His arrest got here in response to a grievance from member of parliament Sabrin Ghoubantini, who mentioned in a Facebook publish July 31 that she was topic to defamation by Tebini.

The Karama (Dignity) Coalition, an Islamist social gathering supporting the Ennahda motion, member of parliament Maher Zid and Mohammed Affes have been additionally arrested July 31 on suspicion of insulting members of the border police who banned a girl from touring. Independent parliamentarian Yassin Ayari, recognized for criticizing the military and presidency, was additionally arrested July 30. 

Zid was launched a day after his arrest, after displaying sufficient proof to cease investigating him. Meanwhile, Ayari and Affes stay detained.

Affes is a former imam and a radical conservative, whereas Zid is a former blogger and journalist who was sentenced in absentia to 2 years in jail in March 2018, on the grounds of insulting former Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi.

Ayari, a former blogger, was repeatedly charged previously due to his discourse that was essential of the military. He additionally described the president’s newest actions as “a military coup.”

Seifeddine Makhlouf, head of the Karama Coalition, posted a video on YouTube Aug. 1 wherein he described the choice to arrest Zid and Affes as “vengeful.” Makhlouf, who’s a robust opponent of Saied, famous that the 2 members of parliament and himself are being pursued on the grounds of a case associated to an altercation with police unions again in March at Tunis airport.

IWatch association, an impartial Tunisian watchdog that flags administrative and monetary corruption and promotes transparency, revealed July 31 a listing with the names of 14 parliamentarians who’re being judicially pursued and are dealing with the danger of arrest.

Massoud bin Ramadan, official spokesman for the Social and Economic Forum of Economic and Social Rights, a nongovernmental group, informed Al-Monitor {that a} truthful trial should be ensured, away from revenge and settling accounts. He famous that the coverage of impunity for 10 years after the 2011 revolution and for the reason that rise of Ennahda to energy has fueled rampant corruption.

In a press release revealed July 26, Amnesty International mentioned Saied should publicly decide to respecting and defending human rights, together with the best to freedom of expression, freedom of association and peaceable meeting, after he suspended the parliament and seized the powers of some judicial authorities.

Heba Morayef, director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa regional workplace, mentioned within the assertion, “The hard-won freedoms and human rights gains of Tunisia’s 2011 uprising are at risk, particularly in the absence of a Constitutional Court to protect the rights of everyone in the country. President Kais Saied must ensure that any acts he orders are strictly in line with Tunisia’s obligations under international human rights law and most importantly must refrain from political purges.”

Human Rights Watch Middle East and North Africa director Eric Goldstein mentioned in a assertion July 27 that the arrests proved the fears that the president would possibly use his extraordinary powers in opposition to his opponents.

Jamal Musallem, official spokesman for the Tunisian Human Rights League, informed Al-Monitor that the league will intently comply with the trials and complaints of some members of parliament. He famous that trials in response to worldwide requirements, the place judicial our bodies are impartial, should be assured.

He mentioned, “The league will not keep mum about any violations threatening the gains that Tunisia made following the revolution, mainly in terms of freedoms.”

Facing the worldwide group’s considerations in regards to the relapse of Tunisia, which was the cradle of the Arab Spring revolutions, Saied, who granted himself full powers and suspended parliament July 25, mentioned throughout an interview with journalists from The New York Times on July 30, “Freedom of speech will not be jeopardized. I will not start a new stage based on dictatorship at this age. I hate and detest dictatorship.”

He burdened that the safety forces didn’t arrest anybody unrightfully. He added, “We did not arrest anyone unless they had a case against them.”

Tunisian Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi tweeted July 28 that he held deliberations together with his French, Italian, Portuguese and Belgian counterparts, throughout which he defended the measures that Saied had taken and asserted that “democracy and freedoms are irreversible choices.”

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