25 Feb. (EUROPA PRESS) –
The prominent Tunisian opponent Ghazi Chaouachi has been arrested this past Friday in the midst of a series of arrests carried out in recent weeks against critics of the country’s president, Kais Saied, now the country’s plenipotentiary ruler after assuming the powers of Parliament in 2021.
Chaouachi was arrested on Friday after about twenty policemen entered his home, according to his son Elyess in a statement posted on his Facebook page and picked up by the Mosaique FM station.
Lawyer Reda Belhaj, another Saied critic, has also been arrested in recent hours. Both have been turned over to the police in the framework of an investigation for “conspiring against State security”, according to the newspaper.
In recent weeks, nearly 20 opposition figures and journalists have been detained, a campaign of repression criticized by the international community and in the face of what is denounced as an authoritarian drift by Saied, who in July 2021 arrogated all powers after dissolving the Government and suspend Parliament, later dissolved.
In this context, the non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) has denounced this past Friday that these arrests are part of the largest campaign of arrests since July 2021, a period in which the Tunisian president has promoted a series of reforms, including a modification of the Constitution and some legislative ones that have had a participation in historical lows.
“After taking charge of the Prosecutor’s Office and dismissing judges, Saied is now going after his critics with total abandon,” lamented the director of HRW in Tunisia, Salsabil Chelali. “Saied calls them a terrorist and regardless of the fact of presenting some type of credible evidence,” she criticized.
For this reason, he has outlined that “the message of these arrests is that, if you dare to speak, the president will have you arrested and will publicly denounce you while his henchmen prepare a case against you based on statements you made or with whom you met “.