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Tunisia’s opposition leader Ghannouchi sentenced to a year in prison

President of the Islamist party Ennahda leaves after speaking during a meeting in Tunis, Tunisia, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019.   -  
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Hassene Dridi/Copyright 2019 The AP. All rights reserved.


A Tunisian court on Monday (May 15) reportedly sentenced one of the main opponents of Tunisian President, to one year in prison on terrorism-related charges.

Rached Ghannouchi was also fined some 300 USD.

The leader of the Islamist-inspired party Ennahda had appeared in court at the end of February on the terror-related charges. However, according to the coalition which includes his party the 81-year-old "later refused to appear again before the criminal division, considering that the case was fabricated and has no basis in reality and law."

A police union had filed a complaint accusing the politician of incitement and of calling police officers "tyrants".

The opposition coalition National Salvation Front denounced a ruling showing "that arbitrariness had replaced the law in public life, and that no critic, regardless of their position or affiliation, is safe from having their freedom confiscated and being thrown into prison."'

"[...] Because of a eulogy he delivered in the city of Gabes, during which he praised the virtues of the deceased, saying that he spent his life resisting tyranny. A member of the security unions considered that the security forces are what is meant by the 'tyrant'," a statement published on Ennahdha's International Facebook page read.

Ghannouchi is among more than 20 of Saied's political opponents and personalities, including former ministers and business figures, arrested since February.

The former parliament speaker was detained and remanded in custody last month after remarks warning that eradicating different viewpoints such as those from which his party originated, might lead to a "civil war".

The following day on April 18th, Tunisian authorities closed the offices of his party throughout the territory.

"Imprisonment of one of the most prominent political figures due to statements whose interpretation is contrary to their appearance and meaning proves, on the one hand, that the authority has not been able to prove any material criminal acts against the head of the Ennahdha party and all the detained politicians [...]", the Facebook posted dated Monday (May 15) read.

President Saied has described those arrested as "terrorists", claiming that they were involved in a "conspiracy against state security".

After dismantling the institutional edifice put in place by the semi-parliamentary Constitution of 2014, Saied ushered his country into the era of hyper-presidentialism.

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