March, 26

Tunisia’s crackdown on dissent escalates with new wave

Tunisian police arrest two prominent dissidents Issam Chebbi and Chaima Issa amid a growing crackdown on critics of President Kais Saied.

Featured in:
Tunisia’s crackdown on dissent escalates with new wave
Tunisia’s crackdown on dissent escalates with new wave.

Tunisian authorities are continuing their crackdown on dissent with the arrest of three more critics of President Kais Saied. This brings the total number of public figures who have been critical of Saied and are now behind bars to at least 12. The president has denounced them as “terrorists” and “traitors.”

Human Rights Watch is calling on the Tunisian government to release all those who have been arbitrarily detained. The detainees include journalists, bloggers, and human rights defenders who have been critical of the government. Some of them have been held without charge for months.

The Tunisian government should end its repressive campaign against dissent and release all those who have been arbitrarily detained.

Head of the Republican Party Issam Chebbi was detained near a shopping centre while he was out with his wife, as reported by his family and lawyers to Reuters. The police then searched his home. No charges have been pressed as of yet but the incident has caused a stir among the public.

Chaima Issa, an activist who took part in the 2011 revolution, was detained after police surrounded her in her car, her lawyer Samir Dilou said. The revolution, also known as the Arab Spring, was a series of pro-democratic uprisings that broke out across the Arab world in early 2011. Chaima Issa has been an outspoken critic of the current Tunisian government, and her arrest is seen as a sign of the government’s crackdown on dissent.

Police also surrounded the house of Jawher Ben Mbarek in an attempt to detain him, but the constitutional law professor has not been there, his sister and lawyers said. This has been an ongoing effort by the police to detain this one man, but so far they have been unsuccessful. There has been no word on where Jawher Ben Mbarek might be, but his lawyers are still working to try and find him and bring him into custody.

Saied, in a video published online on Wednesday, attacked the National Salvation Front opposition coalition, of which Ben Mbarek and Issa were leaders, along with Chebbi’s brother. He said that the coalition was “doomed to fail” and that its members were nothing more than “instruments of foreign powers.”

He called it “a paid campaign”, adding that “Tunisia wants to get rid of these criminals”. He also noted that the campaign was not only about getting rid of criminals, but also about making Tunisia a better place for everyone. “We want to show the world that we are a country that is progressing, that is moving forward, and that we are willing to do whatever it takes to improve the lives of our citizens,” he said.

Saied shut down the elected parliament in 2021 and seized most powers, moving to rule by decree and writing a new constitution that he passed in a referendum with low turnout last year, actions his foes call a coup. Saied’s critics say that his actions have effectively dismantled any checks on his power, and that he is now ruling as an autocrat. They point to the low turnout in the constitutional referendum as evidence that he does not have the backing of the people. Saied has said that he is only taking the actions necessary to steer the country through a time of crisis, and that his critics are simply seeking to sow chaos.

The president has said that the recent moves he has made are legal and necessary in order to save Tunisia from complete chaos. He has repeatedly called his critics traitors and enemies of the state, suggesting that they are not looking out for the best interests of the country. It is clear that the president feels very strongly about these issues and is willing to fight for what he believes in.

Given the recent events that have transpired in the country, it is not surprising that the president would want to take ultimate authority over the judiciary. In light of all that has happened, he likely feels that it is necessary in order to ensure that justice is carried out. By taking this step, he is sending a clear message that those who do not adhere to the law will be held accountable. This is definitely a controversial move, but one that could end up being very effective in the long run.

Over the past month, Tunisian authorities have undertaken a coordinated crackdown on dissent, arresting a number of prominent politicians and activists. This marks a significant escalation of the government’s efforts to quash dissent and consolidate power since President Saied seized control of the country last year. While some politicians had previously faced court cases, this is the first time that such a large-scale crackdown has been carried out. The move is likely to further stifle dissent in Tunisia and could lead to further human rights abuses.

When the Arab Spring protests first began in Tunisia in 2010, few could have predicted the far-reaching effects they would have. The Tunisian Revolution, as it came to be known, was successful in overthrowing the country’s dictatorial government and sparked a wave of similar rebellions across the Arab world. In the years since, Tunisia has been hailed as the only relative success story of the Arab Spring, having successfully transitioned to democracy. While the country still faces challenges, its progress stands in stark contrast to the often violent and chaotic aftermath of the other Arab Spring revolutions.

However, years of political paralysis and economic stagnation left many Tunisians disillusioned. In response, a political outsider named Saied was elected in 2019, vowing to remake the system. Saied has made some progress in fulfilling his promises, but there is still much work to be done. Tunisians remain hopeful that their country can be a model for democracy in the region.

The arrests were made in the early hours of Tuesday morning, with the police and Interior Ministry refusing to comment on the matter. However, lawyers for some of those detained have said that their clients are accused of conspiring against state security.

It is not clear how many people have been arrested or what the specific allegations against them are. However, this crackdown comes amid a wider crackdown on dissent and dissidence in the country, with the government seeking to quash any and all opposition to its rule.

Those arrested are likely to face harsh penalties if convicted, and this latest move by the authorities is sure to further stifle dissent in the country.

Saied had previously said that some of those arrested were responsible for shortages of food and fuel that economists have blamed on a crisis in public finances. He did not give details, but the comments were seen as a reference to business leaders close to the previous administration.

Issa was already facing a military tribunal on charges of insulting Saied but had refused to answer questions during her court appearance, saying she should be tried by a civilian judge. This refusal to answer questions and declare that she should only be tried by a civilian judge, showed Issa’s true colours. It is possible that Issa was just trying to stall for time, but it is also possible that she really does believe that she should not be tried by a military tribunal. If the latter is true, then her actions are a slap in the face to the very institution that she is supposed to represent.

Find us on

Latest articles

- Advertisement - spot_imgspot_img

Related articles

See more articles

Why opposition parties are marching in Kenya, South Africa,...

In Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, and Tunisia, opposition parties have planned mass protests for March 20, 2023,...

Kenya: Ruto wants sanctions imposed against Raila

Kenyan President William Ruto has called for the Western world to impose sanctions against his political rival...

Tunisia: President Saied urged to stop his political ‘witch...

Amnesty International has called on Tunisia President Kais Saied to immediately stop his political ‘witch hunt’ against...