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Fierce Critic of President Kais Saied, Imprisoned Tunisian Opposition Leader Rached Ghannouchi, Begins Hunger Strike in Support of Other Imprisoned Figures, Ennahdha Party Says

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Imprisoned Tunisian Opposition Leader Rached Ghannouchi Begins Hunger Strike in Support of Fellow Opposition Figures

Rached Ghannouchi, a prominent Tunisian opposition leader who is currently imprisoned, has initiated a three-day hunger strike to show solidarity with other imprisoned opposition figures, according to his party, Ennahdha Party.

Ghannouchi’s Imprisonment and Alleged Coup

Ghannouchi, who is 82 years old, was sentenced to a year in jail on charges of incitement and conspiracy against State Security. Over 20 other opposition figures were also arrested during the same period. The opposition accuses President Kais Saied of orchestrating a coup by dismantling the elected parliament in 2021 and assuming power through a decree.

President Saied’s Justification and Opposition’s Protest

President Saied, who gained additional constitutional powers through a referendum with low turnout last year, denies that his actions amount to a coup. He argues that they were necessary to save Tunisia from years of chaos. In response, the Ennahda Party has announced its support for the imprisoned opposition figures who are protesting what they perceive as unjust imprisonment.

Prominent Opposition Figure Johar bin Mubarak’s Hunger Strike

Johar bin Mubarak, a well-known opposition figure who has been detained for over seven months, has also started a hunger strike to protest against what he believes to be politically motivated imprisonment. President Saied has labeled his critics as criminals, traitors, and terrorists, and warned that advocating for their release will be considered incitement.

Ghannouchi’s Political Background

Ghannouchi, a former politician in exile before the 2011 revolution that brought democracy to Tunisia, became the parliament speaker following the 2019 elections. His Ennahda Party was the largest in the Legislative Council. However, President Saied disbanded the parliament in 2021, sending tanks to enforce the shutdown.

Accusations Against Ghannouchi’s Stemming from a Funeral Eulogy

Ghannouchi’s lawyer argues that the accusations against him are based on a funeral eulogy he delivered last year for a member of his party, Renaissance, in which he stated that the deceased “did not fear a ruler or a tyrant, he only feared God.”

Tunisian Authorities’ Response

At the time of this report, Tunisian authorities have not provided a comment on the situation.

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