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Families of detained opposition leaders in Tunisia head to the African court

In this file photo taken on February 21, 2023, Rached Ghannouchi, head of the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party, arrives to a police station in Tunis.   -  
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Yusra Ghannouchi, who is the daughter of jailed Tunisia’s opposition leader Rached Ghannouchi, has condemned her father’s arrest citing gross human rights violation by the current regime of President Kais Saied.

Alongside other family members of Tunisian opposition figures detained in a government crackdown, she is seeking the immediate release of her loved ones with a case bought to the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights.

"Tunisia is bound by the decisions of the African Court of Human and peoples rights. We have also applied for targeted sanctions against Kais Saied, and his justice minister, his interior minister, and his defense minister all his accomplices that are implicated in human rights violations," said Yusra Ghannouch.

Ghannouchi, 81, has been imprisoned since April 17 after claiming that Tunisia would be threatened with a "civil war" if left-wing parties or those of political Islam such as Ennahdha were eliminated.

"There is the will to establish fear and a police state but Tunisians are not accepting that and that's why my father, our fathers, and other political leaders, and members of the civil society are imprisoned because they are not accepting this coup and the return of dictatorship. They are not silent, and we will not be silent," said Yusra Ghannouch.

Since early February, the authorities have arrested more than 20 political opponents and other personalities, an act that has been condemned by the international community and rights groups.

Reports of harassment to the lawyers representing the victims have been echoed by the affected parties with the detainees allegedly tortured.

"Lawyers themselves for the detainees have been threatened and charged. In the case of some of the detainees, there has been very poor treatment up until now. In the case of one, an allegation of torture which will also be raised at the African court," said Rodney Dixon, lawyer to families of Tunisian opposition figures detained taking to his clients.

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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