Academic and researcher Nadia Marzouki criticized Tunisia’s deterioration of public freedoms and the absence of democracy under the rule of President Kais Saied, describing what is happening as a “tragedy.”
Marzouki, the daughter of former President Moncef Marzouki, said; The current president, Kais Saied, who came to power democratically, has been working since taking office on a regular basis to dismantle democracy in the country. He dissolved parliament, imposed a new constitution that gives him enormous powers, and repressed anyone who dared oppose him.
She added in an article in The New York Times: “We are, in conclusion, living without freedom, without water, and without enough food. The economy is about to collapse, and unemployment has reached the point of a pandemic. Instead of addressing the crises plaguing the country, Qais Saied prefers to deliver resonant speeches about Loyalty and conspiracy… What is happening in Tunisia is nothing short of a tragedy.”
All this seems to me, unfortunately, familiar, especially if you go back to the era of dictatorship during the rule of Ben Ali.
In April, the children of many political prisoners gathered in Geneva, and they spoke and demanded that the European Union impose sanctions on the Qais Saied regime, their testimonies resonated with me, reminding me of the dreary Sunday evenings in the spring of 1994 when my mother and I were preparing the lunch basket that we would be allowed to take to my father in his confinement. I remember how I felt then talking to him through the bars and in the presence of armed police officers.
However, the feeling this time around is even worse, as the aim is not simply to crush opposition but also to degrade political prisoners and their families. In Geneva, Kawthar Ferjani spoke describing how her father, a former member of Parliament, was arrested, and how he was being treated in prison, where he is being held in a very crowded cell, with one hundred and twenty inmates. The fate of Rached Ghannouchi, the former Speaker of Parliament and head of the Ennahda Party who was arrested in April, is not expected to be much better.