Defense: Saied’s opponents from Tunisia and ‘to be freed’
After being imprisoned for several months, Chaima Issa and Lazhar Akremi were released. Along with the other 20 members of the opposition, the two opponents of Tunisian President Kais Saied were detained back in February.
In February, Lazhar Akremi, a former minister, and Chaima Issa, a member of the National Salvation Front, the main opposition coalition, were detained.
In February, 20 opposition, media, and business figures were detained on suspicion of “conspiracy against state security.”
In a dramatic July 2021 action against the lone democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring uprisings, Saied froze parliament and ousted the government.
His detractors dubbed the action a “coup,” and human rights organizations denounced a “witch hunt” meant to “repress” freedom of speech in the nation of North Africa.
According to a statement from the defense team for Issa and Akremi, the investigating judge decided to “release Chaima Issa and also responded to the defense committee’s request for the release of Lazhar Akremi,” a lawyer.
The appeals court judge denied the team’s request for the release of additional political opponents.
Around 100 protesters gathered earlier on Thursday in Tunisia’s capital to call for the release of Saied’s 20 detained opponents. Saied has ruled primarily by decree for the past two years.
Many news sources reported that the protesters, which included relatives of the detainees, congregated outside the Court of Appeal.
The prisoners have been labeled “terrorists” by Saied.
Imed Khemiri, a spokesperson for the opposition Ennahdha party with Islamist roots, referred to the arrests as “political” in an interview on Thursday.
Before Saied’s suspension and subsequent dissolution of the legislature, Ennahdha held the majority of seats.
Although they “cannot silence free voices,” these detentions “reflect a suffocating political crisis in Tunisia,” added Khemiri, whose party is a member of the opposition coalition.
Issam Chebbi, the 65-year-old FSN leader who is currently imprisoned,’s son Abdelaziz Chebbi, also criticized the arrests.
He said that his love for Tunisia cost his father his life.
The executive power is in charge of the judiciary, so it is not independent.
Issam Chebbi was a fierce critic of the late dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was overthrown in Tunisia in 2011 in a coup that helped start the Arab Spring uprisings.
Tunisia needs help because it is in a serious financial crisis as well as a political crisis caused by Saied’s attempt to take over.
Wednesday, European lawmakers said that they were against any “unconditional agreement” between the EU and Tunisia because of “the excesses” of Saied.
They asked the Tunisian government to free political opponents who were being held against their will, to protect the rights of Tunisian citizens, and to back their fight for democracy.
In the end, the actions of Tunisian President Kais Saied have led to a political crisis in the country. Even though he tried to take over and shut down free opposition voices, the international community has called for the release of political prisoners and the protection of the rights of citizens. Tunisia will continue to have trouble with violence and money until this happens. We must stand together in solidarity with the people of Tunisia as they fight against oppression and work toward democracy.