Friday, January 28

Tunisia: hospitalized, the strong man of Ennahdha refuses food and drugs (source AFP)

Former Minister of Justice Noureddine Bhiri and strongman of the Ennahdha party, during a press conference on June 25, 2012 in Tunis FETHI BELAID

Former Tunisian justice minister Noureddine Bhiri, a strong man of the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party, hospitalized after his arrest on Friday, refuses to eat and take medicine, an informed source told AFP on Monday. who visited him on Sunday evening.

A delegation made up of five people – three from the Body for the Prevention of Torture (INPT, independent authority) and two from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – was able to enter the Bizerte hospital. (north) where Mr. Bhiri was admitted, according to this source.

“He is not in a critical situation at the moment,” the source who took part in the visit told AFP.

Arrested on Friday morning, Mr. Bhiri, 63, “is alive and lucid, (he) is taken care of in a single room, in the cardiology department of the hospital,” she said.

But “since Friday, (Mr. Bhiri) refuses all food and medicine, that’s why he was transferred to the hospital where he is under close surveillance”, according to this source.

On Sunday evening, several activists and Ennahdha deputies claimed that Mr. Bhiri was “in critical condition” with “threats to his life” and that he had been “deprived of his medication”.

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. Mr. Saied’s coup has been described as a “coup” by Ennahdha and several national and international NGOs have expressed fears of an authoritarian drift.

The delegation’s visit took place between midnight and 1 a.m. on Sunday, according to the same source. “We were able to enter all together and have an individual meeting with the person concerned,” according to the source.

A second informed source who also attended confirmed the visit of this delegation.

Mr. Bhiri is “not infused because it is not possible to give him food or drugs by force,” she said.

According to her, Mr. Bhiri suffering from several chronic diseases, including diabetes and hypertension, the medical team would like him to be transferred to a military hospital, fearing that his condition will deteriorate.

The INPT, which has the mandate to verify the fate of people deprived of their liberty, took up the case on Saturday to ask the Ministry of the Interior for information on the place of detention of Mr. Bhiri and another executive Ennahdha, Fathi Baldi, arrested at the same time as him.

No information was available Monday morning on the place of detention of Mr. Baldi.

The INPT deplored in an official statement and to AFP the “complete silence” of the authorities on the “kept secret” place of the “house arrest” of the two men and denounced the arrests, made for ” preventive “without clear motives or legal proceedings.

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