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Tunisia Places Official of Ennahda Opposition Under House Arrest

Tunisian authorities placed Abdel Karim Harouni, a senior official in the Ennahda Islamist Party, under house arrest, the country’s main opposition coalition said on Saturday. Mr Harouni heads the Shura Council, the highest-ranking body in Ennahda, which was the biggest political party in the parliament closed by President Kais Saied in 2021. The decision reportedly comes following an administrative order by Minister of Interior Kamel Feki, who decided to place Mr Harouni under house arrest for an initial 40-day period, in accordance with the country’s state of emergency law.

According to a statement by Ennahda on Saturday, the arrest has no legal standing and was an attempt to pressure the Shura Council, which had a planning meeting on Sunday in preparation for Ennahda’s 11th congress in October. The decision “confirms once again the authoritarian tendency [of the regime] and the intentional targeting assault on individual and public rights and freedoms,” Ennahda said.

The party also accused the government of “intentionally restricting and besieging parties with the aim of destroying the entire democratic path”. The Salvation Front, the largest opposition coalition in Tunisia and which Ennahda is part of, said “the arbitrary decision” against Mr Harouni was in the context of the arrest of leaders of Ennahda and the closure of its headquarters.

The police this year arrested the party’s leader, Rached Ghannouchi,one of the most prominent critic of the president, as well as several other party officials, including Noureddine Bhiri, Riadh Bettaieb, Said Ferjani, Sahbi Atigue and Mohamed Ben Salem. The government also banned meetings at all Ennahda offices, and police closed all party offices.

Police this year have detained leading political figures, who accused Mr Saied of a coup after he closed the elected parliament in 2021 and moved to rule by decree before rewriting the constitution. Mr Saied has described those detained, with no evidence, as “terrorists, traitors and criminals”. The opposition parties have decried the arrests as politically motivated.

Source: MENA