Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) considered the arrest warrant against Tunisia’s former president Moncef Marzouki as a further serious decline in public and civil freedoms in Tunisia which has witnessed remarkable strides over the past few years in advancing freedom of speech.
Tunisian authorities issued on Thursday, 4 November 2021, an arrest warrent against former president Marzouki, a week after current President Kais Saied asked the Justice Minister to initiate a judicial investigation against ‘those who plot against Tunisia abroad.’
An inquiry was immediately opened into the allegations that Marzouki, who was in office from 2011 to 2014, had conspired against state security.
The arrest warrant was issued by the investigating judge in charge of the case, citing the communications office of the Tunis First Instance Court.
Marzouki, who is currently based in France, has earlier urged, in press statements to France 24, the French authorities to end support for Saied’s regime who, he said, ‘has plotted against the revolution and abolished the constitution.’
The move was followed by a Presidential order to withdraw Marzouki’s diplomatic passport over his press remarks.
AOHR UK warns of the serious implications of such decisions that would only reinforce the ongoing political instability in Tunisia that has deepened after Saied’s decisions to dismiss the Prime Minister and suspend the activities of Parliament.
AOHR UK stresses that Marzouki’s statements came within the legitimate opposition and freedom of expression framework, and that Saied’s repeated promises to protect freedoms are flimsy slogans.
In this regard, AOHR UK called on Tunisian civil society, activists and human rights defenders to intensify efforts and stand firmly against President Saied’s rights violations.