Monday, January 24

Tunisia: the strong man of Ennahdha arrested Friday hospitalized in serious condition

(Belga) Former Tunisian Minister of Justice Noureddine Bhiri, a strongman of the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party, was transferred in serious condition to the hospital in Bizerte (north-west) two days after his arrest, according to activists including a member of this movement.

“Noureddine Bhiri has just been transferred to the hospital in Bizerte after the worsening of his state of health following his arrest and detention for 48 hours,” said on her Twitter account the deputy and former secretary of ‘State, Saida Ounissi. She added that Mr. Bhiri had so far been detained “in an undisclosed location, without any arrest warrant, indictment or judicial authorization”. “Citizens against the coup”, an organization opposed to President Kais Saied, said on its Twitter account that Mr. Bhiri, “hospitalized in emergency, is in very serious condition”. According to several media and sources familiar with the matter to AFP, Mr. Bhiri suffers from several chronic diseases and had stopped eating and taking his medication since his arrest. The Torture Prevention Authority (INPT, independent Tunisian authority) and the Ennahdha party expressed concern on Saturday about the fate of Mr. Bhiri and another Ennahdha leader, Fathi Baldi, arrested at the same time as him. Friday morning. The INPT and the defense committee of Mr. Bhiri formed in particular by his lawyer wife and other jurists denounced the secrecy surrounding the place of their detention and the absence of explanations from the Ministry of the Interior which ordered the two arrests. The ministry was confined Friday evening to announce two house orders, without giving names, noting a “preventive measure (which) was dictated by the need to preserve national security”. On Friday, the defense committee of Mr. Bhiri had qualified his arrest in front of his home by plainclothes agents of “kidnapping and (of) dangerous precedent which marks the entry of the country in the tunnel of the dictatorship”. Ennahdha has been at the heart of a standoff with President Kais Saied since his July 25 coup and his decision to suspend the Parliament that this party had controlled for ten years. (Belga)

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