Tunisia's ex-speaker in court on new terror charges

AFP , Tuesday 21 Feb 2023

Tunisia's former parliamentary speaker Rached Ghannouchi appeared in court Tuesday on new terror-related charges after being accused of calling police officers "tyrants", his party said.

A file picture of Rached Ghannouchi. AFP
A file picture of Rached Ghannouchi. AFP

 

Ghannouchi, who leads President Kais Saied's arch-foes the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha, had already faced court in late November over allegations his party helped jihadists travel to Iraq and Syria.

The latest hearing comes amid a series of arrests of high profile figures that have prompted criticism from rights groups in the North African country and abroad.

The judge ordered Ghannouchi's release following Tuesday's hearing session, his lawyer Sami Triki said, adding that the charges relate to remarks made by his client in early 2022 that had been interpreted as "inciting" Tunisians to kill each other.

The former speaker is also due to be questioned on Thursday after another complaint from a policeman claiming to be in possession of a compromising telephone recording of Ghannouchi, Ennahdha said.

"These charges have been fabricated out of nothing... (and) target the opposition" without evidence, Ghannouchi said Tuesday upon arriving at the anti-terrorism court.

In addition to his previous hearing in November, Ghannouchi also appeared in court that month as part of a case involving alleged money-laundering and "incitement to violence".

He is still awaiting sentencing in those cases.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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