Tunisia- Tunisian Interior Minister Tawfiq Sharaf al-Din sparked a wave of controversy with his recent statements about the arrest of the leader of the Ennahda movement, Noureddine al-Buhairi.
Regarding the charges leveled against al-Buhairi, the Interior Minister said in a press conference on Monday evening that they are related to serious terrorism suspicions and the subject of forensic research in relation to illegally providing certificates, passports and identity cards to people, including a Syrian girl.
The minister expressed his fears of preparing for “terrorist operations affecting the security of the country”, which prompted him to decide to arrest two people, in a procedure he described as preventive, pointing out that he communicated before making the decision with the Minister of Justice and the Public Prosecution, but he was surprised by the disruption of judicial procedures.
Al-Buhairi previously held the position of Minister of Justice, and recently President Qais Saeed alluded more than once to his involvement in corruption, the seizure of public funds and the subjugation of the judiciary without naming him.
The Ennahda movement’s block in Parliament, whose work has been suspended, hastened to express its astonishment at what was stated by the Minister of the Interior regarding the charges against Al-Buhairi, stressing that they remain within the jurisdiction of the judiciary and it is the only one who has the right to decide on them.
In a statement, Al-Nahda considered that the arrest of its leader falls within the category of political nature, and brings the country back to the square of tyranny and political trials.
Anwar Awlad Ali, a member of Al-Buhairi’s defense committee, described, in a statement to Al-Jazeera Net, the accusations made by the Minister of Interior to his client, as ridiculous and arbitrary, stressing that they “contradict heavy accusations of corruption and the seizure of public money directed by President Qais Saeed Al-Buhairi indirectly without evidence.”
The member of the defense staff was surprised by the accusation against his client in relation to the attribution of certificates, considering that the attribution of nationality is given exclusively to the President of the Republic who is the only authorized person to sign it.
He continued, “As a defense body, it became clear to us that Al-Buhairi was kidnapped by the Ministry of Interior in the context of settling political scores, after which charges were framed against him. The fact is that the law is based on the existence of an open case to search for and stop the perpetrator.”
The member of the defense body denounced the Minister of Interior’s seizure of the powers of the judicial authority, considering that the minister interfered in the litigation process related to the file related to attribution of nationality and passports, and gave himself the authority of the investigative judge.
Regarding the next steps that the defense team of Al-Buhairi will take, “Awlad Ali” stressed that they consider that their client is in a state of enforced disappearance and not in a situation of house arrest, as stated in the description of the interior, and that they are considering going to the Administrative Court to challenge the house arrest decision when they verify his legal status. .
With accounting.. but
For his part, the Secretary-General of the Democratic Current, Ghazi al-Shawashi, affirms that his party is with accountability and tracking all those responsible for the political corruption that has spread in the country, and with the opening of files of transfer, terrorism and secret services.
He stressed his support for every path of reform and accountability, but only on condition that it pass through legal frameworks “and not within an unconstitutional procedure that affects rights and freedoms”, in reference to the order related to the house arrest decision, which was previously taken during the era of the late President Habib Bourguiba to suppress the social movement.
Chaouachi admitted that the Tunisian judiciary has not yet recovered, and he is still complaining about many difficulties, but this cannot be taken as an excuse to rob his powers, as he put it.
On the other hand, he urged the President of the Republic to take serious, participatory steps towards reforming the judicial system, away from the language of threats and threats that he constantly directs to judges and the Supreme Judicial Council.
Prosecution on line
In the first reaction from the judicial authority, the Public Prosecution at the Court of First Instance in the capital expressed in a communiqué its “astonishment” at the Minister of the Interior’s statements and accusing it of procrastinating in the investigation case of Syrian citizens obtaining a Tunisian passport during the tenure of the former Minister of Justice (Al-Buhairi).
She indicated that she dealt “in all seriousness and in accordance with the legally established procedures” with the subject of the case, and an investigation was opened for the purpose at a time when research is still ongoing, according to the text of the communication.
Towards reforming the judiciary
For his part, the Secretary-General of the People’s Movement, Zuhair Maghzawi, considered – in an interview with Al Jazeera Net – that opening the file of terrorism and deportation to Syria is a step that his party appreciates to cut with the fulfillment of the instructions and end the control of the Ennahda movement over the joints of the judiciary over the past ten years.
On the other hand, he called on the judges to assume their responsibility and to be freed from all the pressures that were applied to them in the past, by opening incendiary files, foremost of which are terrorism and political assassinations.
On the accusations against the Minister of Interior and President Saeed of attempting to rob the powers of the judiciary, Maghzawi considered that his party, in principle, rejects this, and denounces the procedure of house arrest, but takes into account the weight and seriousness of the files “which the judiciary has been reluctant to resolve.”