Tunisian judge opens new probe into political figures, lawyer claims

TUNIS, May possibly 31 (Reuters) – A Tunisian decide has opened a new investigation into political figures which include major opponents of President Kais Saied on suspicion of conspiring towards condition protection, a attorney for a single of them mentioned.

The situation comes immediately after a wave of arrests of opposition figures more than modern months that Saied’s critics have attacked as a political clampdown, which he denies, and could spur fears of far more detentions.

The 20 men and women accused in the new case involve the major opposition chief Rached Ghannouchi, who is currently in prison, former key minister Youssef Chahed and Saied’s former chief of workers Nadia Akacha, mentioned the law firm, Nadia Chouachi.

The list also features a previous mayor of a Tunis district, a previous armed service officer and a freelance journalist, Chouachi stated.

Ghannouchi, the previous parliament speaker, was among the most distinguished political figures of the latest Tunisian record as his Ennahda occasion played a function in successive governments in the course of the democratic interval soon after the 2011 revolution.

Now 81, he was sentenced this thirty day period to a calendar year in jail for incitement above a funeral elegy for a bash member. Police have closed the places of work of Ennahda, an Islamist get together that had been in governing coalitions with secular functions, across Tunisia.

Chahed was primary minister from 2016-20, decided on by the parliament for his technocratic credentials, and was a single of the candidates who shed to Saied in the 2019 presidential election.

Nadia Akacha was witnessed as Saied’s closest confidante until eventually she still left the job of main of staff members last calendar year and moved to France before leaked audio recordings emerged of her voicing strong criticisms of Saied.

Tunisia’s opposition accuses Saied of a coup for shutting down the parliament in 2021, transferring to rule by decree and passing a new constitution by a referendum with very low turnout, providing himself nearly unchecked powers.

Rights groups have also accused him of undermining judicial independence by replacing key figures on Tunisia’s major judiciary committee and warning that judges who freed all those arrested this year would be regarded as abetting them.

He has denied carrying out a coup, stating his steps had been authorized and important to conserve Tunisia, and accuses his opponents of becoming criminals, traitors and terrorists.

Reporting by Tarek Amara, creating by Angus McDowall, Modifying by William Maclean

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Principles.

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