A Tunisian investigating judge has ordered the arrest of the head of the opposition Islamist movement Ennahda on charges of instigating state authorities, Ennahda said on Thursday.
Rached Ghannouchi, 81, a former head of Tunisia’s parliament and outspoken critic of President Kais Saied, was arrested on Monday on incitement charges.
Ennahda said in an online statement on Thursday that Ghannouchi’s detention was an unjust and politically motivated decision.
Since 2021, Saied, a former law professor, has consolidated his power by dissolving the legislature and calling early elections, steps that the opposition has called a “coup”.
These moves resulted in a significantly weakened new representative body. Saied also held a constitutional referendum, which granted him broader powers.
Since then the North African country has been in political turmoil amid economic woes.
Ennahda sentenced to imprisonment.
“This political decision aims to cover up the abysmal failure of the coup authority to improve the social, economic and living conditions of citizens and the inability to deal with a suffocating financial crisis that is driving the country into bankruptcy,” Ennahda said.
Ghannouchi was jailed after hours of questioning over earlier remarks in which he warned that setting aside political Islam or any other political faction could foment civil war, an Ennahda official said on condition of anonymity.
Other critics and politicians have been arrested in recent months in Tunisia for alleged corruption and conspiracy against state security.
The opposition says the allegations are fabricated and accuses Saied of undermining the foundations of democracy and the seizure of power.
Saied, who took office in 2019, has repeatedly defended his moves, saying they were in line with the constitution.
Tunisia was once seen as the sole democratic success story of the 2010-11 Arab Spring uprisings.