Opposition chief faces money-laundering allegations amid sweeping energy seize by President Kais Saied.
Tunisia’s principal opposition chief, Rached Ghannouchi, has arrived at a Tunis courtroom for a listening to in a money-laundering investigation that his Ennahdha celebration rejects as a political ploy.
Dozens of Ghannouchi’s supporters stood protesting exterior the courtroom within the capital on Tuesday regardless of a heavy police presence for his testimony in a preliminary listening to by an investigative choose.
It comes lower than every week earlier than President Kais Saied holds a referendum on a brand new structure that will tremendously increase his powers in a transfer that Ennahda and plenty of different events have rejected as unlawful.
Elizia Volkmann, a contract journalist based mostly in Tunis, advised Al Jazeera the courtroom would concentrate on alleged “cash laundering and international financing, and whether or not this international financing is linked to terrorism”.
She added that Ghannouchi’s workforce had dismissed the listening to as an engineered “piece of political theatre” forward of subsequent week’s referendum.
“The large query is whether or not he might be arrested, charged and detained on the finish of immediately,” Volkmann stated, noting that a number of different senior Ennahda figures had beforehand been detained.
“Ghannouchi is considered one of Saied’s best critics, he has pushed again in opposition to a variety of his strikes … so that is seen as an enormous showdown as a result of Ghannouchi is a big determine in Tunisian politics,” she added.
Ennahda has been a substantial political power and featured in practically each coalition authorities since Tunisia’s 2011 revolution.
The celebration, which was previously related to the Muslim Brotherhood and now describes itself as “Muslim Democrat”, was the most important within the nation’s parliament previous to Saied dissolving the physique a yr in the past, as a part of strikes that additionally noticed him sack the federal government and seize management of Tunisia’s judiciary.
Ghannouchi, whose financial institution accounts had been frozen earlier this month together with a number of different opponents of Saied, was additionally the final parliament’s speaker.
The rising opposition motion to Saied’s rule, of which the Ennahda chief has been on the forefront, has denounced Saied’s actions as a “coup”.
Critics accuse him of waging political vendettas and dragging the nation again to dictatorship, greater than 10 years since its pro-democracy revolt compelled former longtime ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee the nation and sparked the Arab Spring uprisings.
For his half, Saied has defended the choices he has made since final yr – when he began to rule by decree earlier than rewriting the nation’s democratic structure – as crucial to finish years of political stagnation.