Yesterday evening, Monday, the Tunisian Ennahda movement confirmed that the security forces had arrested its president, Rashid Ghannouchi, after raiding his house in the capital.
The movement said in a statement that the arrest of Ghannouchi (81 years old) took place without respecting the most basic legal procedures, and described what happened as a very dangerous development, and demanded his immediate release, and an end to what it described as the permissibility of opposition political activists.
The movement also called on those they called the free to stand together in the face of what it described as repressive practices that violate rights, freedoms of opposition politicians.
Ghannouchi’s lawyer confirmed that the security forces searched her client’s house, then took him to the headquarters of the National Guard Division in the capital for interrogation.
In turn, an official source in the Tunisian Ministry of Interior confirmed, in a statement to the official news agency, the arrest of the head of the Ennahda movement, Rashid Ghannouchi, by order of the Public Prosecution for Combating Terrorism, after a search of his house.
The source indicated that Ghannouchi’s arrest comes against the background of statements that the Public Prosecution Office considered inflammatory.
Ghannouchi said in a speech during a meeting of the opposition Salvation Front this week, “Tunisia without political Islam, Tunisia without the left or any other component, is a project for civil war.”
“Those who celebrated the coup are extremists and terrorists, and they are advocates of civil war,” he added.
Ghannouchi’s defense lawyers said that they were prevented from meeting their client, and explained that the prosecution took the decision to investigate Ghannouchi without the presence of a lawyer for 48 hours, as permitted by the Anti-Terrorism Law.
The Ghannouchi Defense Authority also said that the two members of the executive office of Ennahda, Belkacem Hassan and Mohamed El-Komani, and the student work official, have been suspended.
On the other hand, the spokesman for the dissolved parliament, Maher Madhiub, stated that Ghannouchi calls for calm, the preservation of Tunisia, and the continuation of work in order to bring down what he described as a coup, as he put it.
For his part, a leader of the movement, Noureddine Al-Arabawi, denounced what he described as the kidnapping of the movement’s leader, Rashid Ghannouchi, by the security forces and taking him to an unknown destination.
Al-Arabawi stressed that the arrest of Ghannouchi represents a negative point in the face of the authority that targets opposition figures, calling for his immediate release.
It is noteworthy that the head of the Ennahda movement has been under investigation for a while, while he is released, in several cases. In the past months, the Tunisian authorities have arrested a number of opponents, including Ali Al-Areedh, deputy head of the Ennahda movement, and the authorities charged some of the arrested opponents with conspiracy against state security.