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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Tunisian Forces Detain Prominent Opposition Figures

Ben M'barek was the last of a dozen well-known people who were arrested this month

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TUNISIA: Tunisian security forces have arrested Jaouhar Ben M’barek, the most well-known member of the opposition they have caught so far. This is part of a larger campaign to arrest people who are against President Kais Saied.

“Jaouhar was arrested late last night, and we haven’t seen the charges against him,” his sister, Dalila Msaddek, a lawyer, said in a statement.

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Ben M’barek was the last of a dozen well-known people who were arrested this month. Most of them were Saied’s opponents. In July 2021, Saied froze parliament and got rid of the government in a dramatic move against the only democracy to come out of the Arab Spring protests.

Later, Saied pushed through major changes to the way the government of North Africa worked, which put almost all of the power in his office.

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The left-winger Former government advisor Ben M’barek is a well-known member of the National Salvation Front (NSF), an opposition alliance that was created in reaction to Saied’s attempt to seize power. He is also the founder and executive director of the Citizens Against the Coup movement.

Ahmed Nejib Chebbi, the head of the NSF, told that five detainees, including Ben M’barek, Chaima Issa, a top NSF member, and Chebbi’s brother Issam, another well-known politician, had appeared in handcuffs before prosecutors on Friday morning.

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The NSF includes Ennahda, an Islamist-leaning party that ruled Tunisia’s fractured politics from the revolt until Sayed took power. It showed support for Ben Mbarek on Friday and said that it “strongly condemns the growing campaign of arbitrary arrests.”

On Thursday, Ben M’barek’s father posted on Facebook that he, too, had spent a considerable amount of time being detained and interrogated by police.

Noureddine Boutar, the head of Mosaque FM, the most popular private radio station in the country, has been detained this month. Since the revolution, Mosaque FM has been critical of the president and other administrations. According to Boutar’s lawyers, who said the case was politically motivated, the authorities asked Boutar about the station’s editorial position before charging him with “money laundering and illegal enrichment.”

This week, Saied, who took over the courts at the beginning of last year, claimed that those who had been detained were “terrorists” who had “plotted against state security.”

Also Read: Israelis Protest for Seventh Week against Judicial Changes

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