Tunisian President Kais Saied attacked senior officials in the judiciary and accused them of being linked to what he described as criminal gangs, at a time when the case of the leader of the Ennahda movement, Noureddine El Beheiry, who is being held by the authorities and on hunger strike, is interacting, amid warnings that he has entered a dangerous stage.
During his meeting on Wednesday evening at the presidential palace with the Dean of Lawyers Ibrahim Bouderbala, Saeed said that some of those who held high positions in the courts were and still are an extension of political forces and what he described as criminal gangs.
In a video clip broadcast by the Tunisian presidency on its official Facebook page, he added that whoever committed a crime would be tried like other citizens, and it was not clear whether he meant by that the Vice President of the Ennahda Movement, Noureddine Al-Behairi, who was arrested last Friday and placed under house arrest.
The Tunisian president has repeatedly spoken of the need to “purify” the judiciary. His statements come at a time when the issue of the detention of the leader of the Ennahda movement interacts and raises controversy internally and externally.
Al-Buhairi, 63, was arrested on suspicion of committing offenses including assigning official documents illegally, and the former security official, Fathi Al-Baladi, who worked as an advisor to the former Interior Minister Ali Al-Arayed, was arrested with him, both of whom are from the Ennahda movement.
Interior Minister Tawfiq Sharaf al-Din considered the detention of al-Buhairi a legal act, and justified the decision by the presence of what he called a threat to public security.
Refusal of extraordinary decrees
For its part, the Supreme Judicial Council in Tunisia renewed, on Wednesday, its position on reforming the judicial system through exceptional decrees.
The council stressed – in a statement – that all its decisions were taken in a constitutional manner, calling on judges to uphold their independence, and warning of the danger of the ongoing smear campaigns targeting the judiciary and judges.
Meanwhile, Saida Al-Akrimi, a lawyer and Al-Buhairi’s wife, said that she will sit in the hospital where her husband is staying in the city of Bizerte (65 kilometers north of the capital) since he was transferred there after his arrest last Friday.
The wife of the Vice-President of the Ennahda Movement, the former Minister of Justice and Member of Parliament, added that she will remain in the hospital with her children, and will not leave unless accompanied by her husband.
She added that Al-Buhairi is still on hunger strike and refrains from taking medicine and water, noting that doctors have confirmed that he is in critical condition.
between life and death
In a press conference on Wednesday, Samir Dilou, a member of the defense team for Noureddine El-Behairy, said that his client is lying between life and death in a hospital in Bizerte as a result of the hunger strike that he has been waging since his arrest.
Delo held the Tunisian authorities responsible for any harm that might happen to his client.
At the same time, the Anatolia news agency quoted the doctor supervising the treatment of Al-Buhairi and the head of the resuscitation department at the Habib Bougatfa University Hospital in Bizerte, that the deputy head of the Ennahda movement suffers from the beginning of kidney failure, in light of his continuing strike from water and medicine for days.
For its part, the Ennahda movement (53 deputies out of a total of 217 deputies in the frozen parliament) demanded Wednesday the immediate release of Al-Buhairi and his return to his family before his health further deteriorated, as she put it.
The movement said – in a statement – that Salama al-Buhairi is borne by those it described as the head of the de-facto authority, Qais Saeed, and the person in charge of internal affairs, Tawfiq Sharaf al-Din.
The movement also said that its deputy head was kidnapped and forcibly disappeared without judicial permission and outside the framework of the law, and that there was an attempt to fabricate malicious charges against him.
Tunisian and international organizations have described the placement of the former Minister of Justice and Vice President of Ennahda under house arrest as arbitrary and unlawful detention.
In this context, the World Organization Against Torture considered that what the Tunisian Ministry of Interior calls the house arrest of the Vice-President of the Ennahda Movement, Noureddine El Beheiry, is arbitrary and illegal detention.
In another context, the Tunis Court of First Instance confirmed that it had decided to refer 19 people to the court’s misdemeanours department for committing what it described as electoral crimes related to violating the prohibition of political propaganda and the use of illegal propaganda through social media and propaganda during the electoral silence period during the elections that took place in 2019.
The court said its decision was based on a report issued by the Court of Accounts, an official body for financial supervision.
The list of defendants includes a number of politicians who ran in the recent legislative and presidential elections, including Nabil Karoui, Youssef Chahed, Rached Ghannouchi, Hamadi Jebali, Hamma Hammamy, Moncef Marzouki and Elias Fakhfakh.