Tunisian judge orders imprisonment of Saied’s opponent

Tunisian judge orders imprisonment of Saied’s opponent

TUNIS (Reuters): A Tunisian judge has ordered the imprisonment of Abir Moussi, a prominent opponent of President Kais Saied, two days after she was arrested at the presidential palace entrance, her lawyer said, as part of a crackdown on opposition politicians.

Investigations of Moussi, the Free Constitutional Party or PDL leader, went on for hours while her supporters gathered, raising slogans demanding her immediate release and slogans against Saied.

Interior Ministry officials declined to comment.

Police this year have detained more than 20 leading political figures, including Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of the Ennahdha Party, accusing some of plotting against state security.

Saied has described those detained as “terrorists, traitors, and criminals.”

Saied, a retired law professor elected president in 2019, shut down the elected parliament in 2021 and moved to rule by decree, actions his opponents described as a coup that he rejects.

“After five hours of investigation, the judge ordered the imprisonment of Moussi on suspicion of processing personal data, obstructing the right to work, and assault intended to cause chaos,” lawyer Nafaa Laaribi said.

Moussi was arrested on Tuesday when she went to the presidential reception office to file an appeal in a local election decree expected at the year’s end.

She said in a video that this step was necessary so that she could later file an appeal in the Administrative Court.

Moussi’s Party warned in a statement against “attempts to fabricate legal obstacles to remove her from participating in the presidential elections” expected next year.

In recent months, the party has organized protests against Saied. Moussi accuses Saied of ruling outside the law.

Moussi is a supporter of late President Zine El Abidine ben Ali who was toppled in 2011.

She describes these revolutions as a “spring of destruction” and accused Western intelligence of changing the rulers in the region and pushing political Islam into power.