The Executive Office of the Tunisian Ennahda Movement demanded the immediate release of the “kidnapped”, the movement’s leader, former Minister of Justice Noureddine El Beheiry, and former employee of the Tunisian Ministry of Interior Fathi El-Beladi.
The movement’s executive office called for a massive participation in the demonstrations expected on January 14, in refusal of the decisions taken by President Kais Saied months ago.
The movement said that al-Buhairi and al-Baladi were “forcibly detained outside the framework of the law, and in the absence of any judicial permission,” and denounced the continuation of what it called “distortion campaigns and attempts to subjugate the judiciary through calls for the dissolution of the Supreme Judicial Council and control of the judiciary by presidential decrees, under the pretext of reform.”
Ennahda called for a boycott of the electronic referendum called by Said, considering this as “a continuation of the deviation in power, a focus on individual rule, and a blow to the mechanisms of democratic action.”
Violation of laws and conventions
Since last July 25, Tunisia has been experiencing a severe political crisis, as President Said began a series of “exceptional” decisions, including freezing the competencies of Parliament, lifting the immunity of its deputies, abolishing the constitutionality monitoring body, issuing legislation with presidential decrees, chairing the Public Prosecution, and dismissing the government.
The majority of political forces in Tunisia reject these measures, and consider them a “coup against the constitution”, while other forces support them and see them as a “correction of the course of the 2011 revolution” that toppled the late President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
In turn, Al-Buhairi’s defense said, in a statement, that the process of “hijacking him is a full-fledged crime”, and “violated all international laws, covenants and constitutional guarantees.”
The commission called on “professional structures, headed by the dean of Tunisian lawyers, to show solidarity with Al-Buhairi and his wife, Saeeda Al-Akrimi, a member of the Bar Council, who was assaulted during the kidnapping.”
The defense committee also called for an urgent news public session “to discuss the situation of Al-Buhairi and the deterioration of the situation of rights and freedoms in the country.”
Dean of Tunisian lawyers, Ibrahim Bouderbala, considered the house arrest decision against Al-Buhairi “unconstitutional.” In a radio statement, he said, “The Deanship of Lawyers adheres to this position, regardless of the persons concerned with the decision.”
For its part, Human Rights Watch said in a statement that the arrests of al-Buhairi and al-Baladi “show the growing threat to human rights protections since President Kais Saied seized power last July.”
The organization called on the Tunisian authorities to immediately release Al-Buhairi and Al-Baldi, who are “arbitrarily detained”, or provide evidence against them if they have evidence that they committed any actual crime.
The Tunisian president had criticized the position of Al-Buhairi on hunger strike. At the beginning of the cabinet session, Saeed said that “Al-Buhairi is free in his choices, but he is not above the law and he does not have to play the role of the victim.”
And last Monday, Interior Minister Tawfiq Sharaf El-Din announced that Al-Buhairi and Al-Baladi were placed under house arrest on charges of “suspicion of terrorism” related to the “illegal” extraction of Tunisian travel and citizenship documents for a Syrian and his wife.
On the other hand, the Secretary-General of the Tunisian Workers’ Party, Hamma Hammami, said that the Tunisian president “seeks to subject the judiciary and its use to hold his opponents accountable, and to protect himself from the crimes he committed” since last July 25.
In a statement to Mosaique FM radio, Hammami declared that “the reform of the judiciary in Tunisia is a real issue that requires turning around.”