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Tunisia: opponent Jawhar Ben Mbarek additionally arrested

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A virulent critic of Tunisian President Kais Saied, Jawhar Ben Mbarek, was arrested as a part of a crackdown on the opposition, which accuses the authorities of making an attempt to muzzle him whereas the nation is mired in a severe disaster with out a answer in sight.

Mr. Ben Mbarek, 55, is probably the most distinguished opponent to be arrested as a part of a marketing campaign of arrests launched in early February in political and enterprise circles, unprecedented since President Saied cornered the powers in July 2021.

“He was arrested late at night time and now we have not but had entry to the arrest file,” his sister, lawyer Dalila Msaddek, instructed AFP on Friday morning. The police had held Mr Ben Mbarek’s father, Ezzeddine Hazgui, additionally an opponent, for a number of hours on Thursday.

Chief of the “Residents In opposition to the Coup” motion, Mr Ben Mbarek, can be one of many essential leaders of the Nationwide Salvation Entrance (FSN), the primary opposition coalition that emerged after Mr Saied has assumed full energy in Tunisia, rocking the younger democracy that emerged from the primary Arab Spring revolt in 2011.

Determine of the Tunisian left, Jawhar Ben Mbarek is a specialist in constitutional legislation and former adviser to the presidency of the federal government.

Twenty personalities have been arrested in Tunisia since early February, a marketing campaign described by Amnesty Worldwide as a “politically motivated witch hunt”.

The political activist Khayam Turki, the businessman Kamel Eltaïef, very launched in political circles, the ex-minister Lazhar Akremi and the ex-leader of the Ennahdha motion Abdelhamid Jelassi, and the director of the non-public radio Mosaïque FM Noureddine Boutar had been additionally arrested.

Mr Saied known as these arrested “terrorists” and claimed they had been concerned in a “conspiracy towards state safety”. Earlier than Mr Ben Mbarek, two different opponents, Issam Chebbi and Chayma Issa had been arrested on Wednesday.

“This remedy inflicted on main political figures is not going to undermine our dedication,” FSN chief Ahmed Nejib Chebbi instructed AFP on Friday. “The actions of energy show that it’s floundering and replicate its failure to handle the nation on all ranges: political, financial, social and diplomatic”, he added.

One other element of the FSN, the Islamo-conservative Ennahdha occasion , expressed in a press launch its “solidarity with Jawhar Ben Mbarek and his household” and condemned “the arbitrary arrests which have focused opposition political activists, commerce unionists, journalists and businessmen”.

Ennahdha, which was the primary political drive within the parliament dissolved by Mr Saied throughout his coup, accused him of “searching for to rot the scenario to cover his failure and his accountability for the deterioration of the scenario within the nation in any respect ranges and blame it on the opposition” .

“The message of those arrests is that for those who dare to talk out, the President can have you ever arrested and publicly uncovered whereas his cronies try and construct a case towards you based mostly on remarks you might have made or folks you might have encountered,” Salsabil Chellali, director of the Tunis workplace of the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW), mentioned in a press release on Friday.

The arrests come because the nation faces a extreme financial disaster marked by recurrent shortages of primary commodities, which Mr Saied continues accountable on grasping businessmen serving politicians searching for to trigger social unrest for the ‘weaken.

Along with his opponents, Mr Saied this week attacked unlawful migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, whom he offered as a supply of criminality and a demographic risk to Tunisia, drawing a flood of criticism from NGOs which have denounced “racist and hateful” speech.