Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) reports that the Tunisian authorities’ escalating crackdown on opposition members, activists, and political leaders persists. This move aligns with President Kais Saied’s efforts to dismantle the remaining achievements of the Tunisian revolution and solidify autocratic governance, following his July 2021 coup.
AOHR UK further notes that after dissolving the parliament, President Saied directed Tunisian security forces to detain key political and human rights figures across civil society in a sweeping campaign of arbitrary arrests.
Most recently, on September 6, 2023, two leading members of the opposition Ennahda Movement were arrested: Abdelkarim Harouni, a former minister and current president of the movement’s Shura Council, and Mondher Wanisi, the party’s Executive Vice President. This came just a day after the detention of former Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali for seven hours at the Aouina National Guard barracks.
AOHR UK emphasizes that Tunisian jails are currently holding numerous opposition figures, activists, and human rights defenders without clear legal grounds. Many are detained based on unsubstantiated accusations, with authorities failing to provide credible evidence. The conditions of detention are deplorable, posing significant risks to the health of detainees, some of whom are already suffering from chronic illnesses.
While Tunisia grapples with economic challenges, President Saied is concentrating power in his own hands, undermining the legislative and judicial branches, and disrupting the justice system. This includes subjecting opposition figures to military trials and intimidating judges into compliance through unjust rulings.
AOHR UK urges the international community to closely monitor the unfolding situation in Tunisia. It calls for immediate action to pressure President Saied and the Tunisian government to rectify the situation, secure the unconditional release of all political detainees, and halt the escalating anti-democratic practices and human rights abuses in the country.