Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Conspirator against the state: Ghannouchi's imprisonment exposes silence about him in Tunisia

Friday 19/May/2023 - 07:46 PM
The Reference

For more than a year and a half, following the decisions of Tunisian President Kais Saied on July 25, 2021, the most important question was, “Why has the Ennahda movement not been held accountable until now?” While the answer revolved around the movement’s penetration of the judicial system and its appointment of affiliated individuals within it in a way that disrupts the trials, a verdict issued by a department specialized in terrorism cases in the Court of First Instance last Monday against Ennahda head Rached Ghannouchi with a year in prison and a fine of 1,000 dinars (about $320), which raises the question as to why Ghannouchi was imprisoned in this case and but not imprisoned in other cases such as the deportation of Tunisian youth to hotbeds of tension or money laundering cases in which he was repeatedly investigated.


Ghannouchi conspired against the state

The case in question relates to a complaint filed by a security trade unionist against Ghannouchi after he used the word “tyrants” while eulogizing a leader of the Ennahda movement, and the complainant believed that the security forces were what was meant by this word.

Against this background, Ghannouchi, who is 81 years old, was arrested about a month ago on suspicion of plotting against state security, with the closure of Ennahda headquarters and banning it from meetings.

Meanwhile, Ennahda and the National Salvation Front - an opposition entity made up of more than one civil party alongside Ennahda - rejected the ruling.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, May 16, the movement considered that the verdict came in the context of “political trials,” while the National Salvation Front considered that “not one of the opponents, regardless of their position or affiliation, is safe from having their freedom confiscated and imprisoned.”


Significance of the judgment

Despite all the hospitality with which the opponents of Ennahda received the judicial ruling, it confirms the fact that there are files that the July 25 path has not been able to resolve until today, on top of which is the deportation of Tunisian youth to areas of terrorism to the extent that made Tunisia the top exporting country of terrorism during the period after 2011.

In previous statements to the Reference, Tunisian political writer Nizar Jlidi justified that Ennahda was able to protect itself through its elements who are implanted in most government agencies, including the judiciary, which is why some files remain unresolved, with the investigations prolonging.


Regional support

However, this is not the only reason, as Ennahdha, the most prominent Brotherhood wing in the Maghreb and the most successful among its counterparts in the countries of the region, received external support from the Brotherhood and its regional supporters to preserve its last cards after its losses in Egypt.

Until 2021, Islamist currents in general looked at the Maghreb region as if it were the last card in their hand. After the failure of the Arab Spring revolutions in Syria, the end of the presence of the alleged ISIS caliphate in Iraq, and the fall of the Brotherhood in Egypt, the Maghreb remained the only area in which Islamist movements existed in the form of groups and parties capable of leading the government and winning the parliament.

This reality changed after the year 2021 brought changes in the political scene in some countries of the Maghreb, which resulted in a new failure added to the series of failures of Islamist movements in the Arab region.

Tunisia represents the biggest loss. After the Ennahda movement was number one in the scene over the ten years that followed the Tunisian revolution, enjoyed the majority in parliament, and had influence over the government, Tunisian President Kais Saied ended this political reality on July 25, 2021, marginalizing Ennahda with a few decisions, including freezing the parliament, dissolving the government, and pursuing the corrupt.