Tunisia arrests key opposition figure as crackdown escalates | News


Jaouhar Ben Mbarek, a critic of the president, is a outstanding member of the principle opposition coalition NSFT.

Police in Tunisia have arrested Jaouhar Ben Mbarek, a outstanding critic of President Kais Saied, his sister mentioned, taking many of the principal leaders of the Nationwide Salvation Entrance (NSFT) opposition motion into custody.

Police had surrounded Ben Mbarek’s dwelling on Wednesday and briefly detained his father, who can also be a well known dissident, on Thursday, in accordance with his sister Dalila Msaddek, who’s a lawyer.

“Jaouhar was arrested late final night time (Thursday) and we haven’t seen the costs towards him,” Msaddek mentioned on Friday, the AFP information company reported.

Ben Mbarek can also be the chief of a motion referred to as Residents In opposition to the Coup.

The organisation, in addition to the NSFT, had been shaped in protest after Saied suspended parliament and sacked the federal government in July 2021, later transferring to grab management of the judiciary and revamp the nation’s post-revolution political system to pay attention energy in his workplace.

The persevering with arrests have shocked the nation and drawn worldwide condemnation whereas elevating fears over a crackdown on dissent. They embody these with ties to the opposition, critics of the president, businessmen, the pinnacle of a number one radio station, attorneys and a former diplomat.

Salsabil Chellali, the Tunisia director of the worldwide monitoring group, Human Rights Watch, mentioned Saied was going after his critics “with utter abandon”.

“The message in these arrests is that in the event you dare to talk out, the president can have you ever arrested and publicly denounce you whereas his henchmen attempt to construct up a file towards you based mostly on remarks you made or who you met,” she mentioned in a press release.

The NSFT has slammed the string of “repressive” arrests after police within the North African nation – the birthplace of the Arab Spring uprisings greater than a decade in the past – detained 10 public figures together with the director of the nation’s hottest non-public radio station, which has been vital of the president.

Ben Mbarek, a constitutional legislation professional like Saied, had supported the president in his profitable 2019 election bid however has since turn out to be certainly one of his main critics.

NSFT head Ahmed Nejib Chebbi has referred to as the arrests “violent and legally baseless”.

On Wednesday, senior NSFT member Chaima Issa and Chebbi’s brother, who can also be a outstanding politician, was arrested.

Issam Chebbi, head of the Al-Joumhouri (Republican) occasion, was arrested by about 20 plain-clothed cops in Ariana, a part of better Tunis, Chebbi mentioned.

The anti-Saied alliance contains Ennahdha, the Islamist-leaning occasion that had dominated Tunisia’s fractious politics from the revolution till Saied’s energy seize.

Since seizing full govt powers, Saied has neutered parliament and pushed by a brand new structure that provides him near-unlimited management and makes it nearly not possible to question him.

Authorities have positioned a number of of his critics on trial in army courts, and rights teams say he’s reinstalling an authoritarian system greater than a decade after the toppling of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali within the nation’s pro-democracy revolution.

Amnesty Worldwide has accused authorities of “escalating efforts to crack down on high-profile critics and perceived opponents” of Saied, urging the federal government to finish what it referred to as a “politically motivated witch hunt”.

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