Moncef Marzouki… a former president of Tunisia faces imprisonment under the current president

Yesterday, Wednesday, December 22, 2021, a court in Tunis sentenced former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki in absentia to 4 years in prison with immediate enforcement, on charges of “attacking the external security of the state”, against the background of his refusal to hold the Francophone Summit in Tunisia after the acquisition of President Qais Saied is above all authorities.

Marzouki remained one of the most prominent opponents of the regime of late President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali until the latter was overthrown by a popular revolution on January 14, 2011.

After years of forced exile in France, Marzouki returned to his country after the revolution before being elected as interim president of the country at the end of the same year, and he remained in that position until he lost in the second round of the 2014 presidential elections.

Birth and upbringing

– July 7, 1945: Moncef Marzouki was born in the city of Kornbalia in the governorate of Nabeul, south of Tunis, to a family from southern Tunisia.

His father is Muhammad Al-Badawi Al-Marzouqi and his mother is Aziza bint Karim, and he has 4 brothers and 7 half-brothers.

1957: He joined the Sadiq School in the capital, Tunis, until 1961.

1961: He left Tunisia to join his father, who worked and lived in Morocco for 33 years, married a Moroccan woman and had 7 children who are half-brothers of Moncef Marzouki.

1964: He obtained his baccalaureate (high school) from Tangiers in the north of the Kingdom of Morocco.

He then traveled to France to study at the University of Strasbourg at the Faculty of Humanities.

1970: Al-Marzouki participated in an international competition for young people on the occasion of the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi to present a text on the life and thought of a man.

1973: He received a doctorate in medicine from the University of Strasbourg, France, and worked as an assistant at the same university, specializing in neurology and general medicine.

1975: He traveled to China as part of a delegation to examine the experience of medicine in the service of the people there.

1979: Marzouki returned to Tunisia and worked as an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Tunis.

– Participated in the experience of collective folk medicine in Tunisia before stopping the project.

– He was tried during the reign of the late President Habib Bourguiba (July 25, 1957 – November 7, 1987) and stood before the courts at that time 7 times.

1989: Marzouki announced his support for President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali upon his arrival to power and called for voting for him in the elections.

– February 8, 1990: Ben Ali received him at the Carthage Palace, and Marzouki said upon his exit, “It was a very cordial, warm and positive meeting.”

March 1994: He was arrested after his relationship with the authorities gradually became tense, then he was released after 4 months of detention in a solitary cell.

He was released against the backdrop of an international campaign and the intervention of African leader Nelson Mandela and the then President of South Africa.

1997: The first head of the Arab Committee for Human Rights was chosen and remained its head until 2000.

December 10, 1998: On the occasion of the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he and a group of his comrades founded the National Council for Liberties in Tunisia.

2001: He founded the Congress for the Republic and declared it under the slogan “a resistance party, not an opposition party.” He demanded the overthrow of the Ben Ali regime instead of seeking to reform it because it is a “corrupt and irreparable regime.”

December 2001: He left for exile in France to work as a lecturer at the University of Paris.

2006: He returned to Tunisia without the authority’s permission, and called for civil disobedience to overthrow the Ben Ali regime, but due to the severity of the harassment, he quickly left in the same year to France and from there he continued his human rights struggle and opposition by writing, lectures, seminars and television interventions in statements and talk shows.

Al-Monsef married twice, the first of them to the French woman, Natalie Bechar, and their marriage ended in divorce, and he has Maryam and Nadia, and the second wife is the French doctor and first lady, Beatrice Rayne.

The revolution of 2011.. Return to Tunisia

January 18, 2011: After the outbreak of the Tunisian revolution and the departure of Ben Ali from the country, Marzouki returned to Tunisia.

– Al-Marzouki did not rule out running in the presidential elections if the necessary constitutional guarantees are in place.

– December 12, 2011: He was elected interim president of Tunisia by the National Constituent Assembly (Interim Parliament) after obtaining a majority of 153 votes out of a total number of 217 members.

– February 6, 2013: European Parliament deputies shed tears while listening to Marzouki’s speech in which he defended the values ​​of democracy in his country, following the assassination of the Secretary-General of the National Democratic Party Chokri Belaid, known for his opposition positions.

2013: Time magazine chose him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

He was chosen by the American Foreign Policy magazine among the 100 best global thinkers for the years 2012 and 2013, and he came second in each.

June 2013: Received an honorary doctorate from the University of Tsukuba, Japan.

September 26, 2013: During his speech at the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Al-Marzouki called on the Egyptian authorities to release President Mohamed Morsi and open the Rafah crossing with Gaza.

– January 2014, he was chosen by the Maghreb Forum of the Mada Center for Studies and Humanitarian Research as the best Maghreb personality for the year 2013, due to his recognition of the rights of Maghreb citizenship.

– December 23, 2014: After the tenth presidential elections held in November 2014, in which President Beji Caid Essebsi won over Marzouki in the run-off, the idea of ​​establishing a party was launched to emphasize that “the real battle is not just an electoral battle, but rather an electoral battle. A long-term battle,” according to a party document.

November 18, 2015: The Congress for the Republic announced that its founder, Marzouki, had received a security warning of a plot to assassinate him by “terrorists”.

– November 19, 2015: An explosion occurred in a bus carrying members of the presidential guard in the center of the capital, in a surprise attack, the first of its kind, killing 12 members of the presidential guard and wounding 20 others, who were charged with securing the protection of political and union figures who received terrorist threats By assassination.

– December 20, 2015: He founded the “Harak Tounes Al-Irada” party, along with a number of his former advisers and others, after losing the presidential elections, and it was initially called the “Hrak of the Citizens’ People’s Movement”.

– The party’s founding body included 61 personalities, headed by the party’s president, Mohamed Moncef Al-Marzouki, Ahmed Belkacem, Ibtisam Al-Tariqi, Ibrahim bin Saeed, Al-Sadiq Jabnoun, Al-Arabi Obeid, Iman Al-Jaziri, Enas Al-Jadidi, Bashir Al-Nafzi, and Imad Al-Daimi.

June 2015: He was part of the team of the ship Marian, the first ship in the Freedom Flotilla 3, which was seized by the Israeli Navy and prevented from reaching the shores of Gaza, then took it to the port of Ashdod.

May 3, 2016: Marzouki’s party obtained the legal license to operate.

November 24, 2019: Marzouki announced his withdrawal from the presidency of the “Hirak” party and from the Tunisian political arena, after his party failed to obtain any parliamentary seat in the House of Representatives.

July 25, 2021: During his television appearances and through social media, Marzouki called for the removal of Saeed from the presidency, describing him as a “coup” and a “dictator”.

Al-Marzouki’s claim came after Saeed announced the dismissal of former Prime Minister Hisham Al-Mashishi, the suspension of Parliament’s activity, and the assumption of supervision over the Public Prosecution.

October 14, 2021: President Kais Saied announced that he had withdrawn the diplomatic passport of former President Moncef Marzouki after he demanded that France stop its aid to the Tunisian regime.

– The Court of Appeal opened an investigation into Marzouki’s statements, in which he called on countries not to support “dictatorship” in Tunisia.

November 4, 2021: The Court of First Instance issued an international arrest warrant for Marzouki, against the background of his rejection of the Francophone summit in Tunisia after President Kais Saied seized all powers.

December 22, 2021: The Court of First Instance sentenced Marzouki in absentia to 4 years in prison with immediate enforcement, on charges of “attacking external state security”, against the background of his rejection of the convening of the Francophone Summit in Tunisia.

Al-Marzouki commented on the ruling by saying that all the accusations against him are a reversal of the facts and apply to President Qais Saeed, stressing that the ruling against him does not concern him because it was issued by an illegitimate president who overturned the constitution, according to his description.

Ideas and visions

– Marzouki’s life went through several political transformations, divided between leftism and nationalism in the seventies, within his own synthesis.

– In the eighties he left nationalism and leftism because they did not allow a margin for the other according to his vision.

In the 1990s, he pursued a moderate secular left.

– After the presidency, the warrior’s rest period has begun in adopting the written approach, political and legal activities, international visits, giving lectures and attending on the Internet, which is the stage of political retirement and devote himself to writing.

– Journalist Nizar Bahloul issued a book titled Bonté divine (The Man Who Didn’t Know How to Be a President), directing his criticism of Marzouki and his political positions.

Al-Marzouki stated his criticism of the monarchy in Morocco, and was not careful in dealing with the Moroccan Sahara file, which brought him criticism and occupied public opinion with his decisions and statements.

– He visited Algeria, expressing his desire to mediate between the two sisterly neighbors Algeria and Morocco in 2012, which prompted the Algerians to consider it an unacceptable interference in their internal affairs.

Al-Marzouki believes that what is happening in Libya is the last attempt to bury the Arab Spring.

– Retired Libyan Major General Khalifa Haftar was described as “a hired agent in the hands of the Arab axis of evil represented by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which is trying to confront the Arab Spring by all means in the service of Israel and the West.”

– He believes that the civil war in Syria and Yemen and the coup in Egypt are “a tool for destroying the Arab Spring, and that the tool for its destruction in Tunisia is money and corrupt media, and that the efforts of the axis of evil later turned towards Libya to eliminate what they consider to be a pocket of the revolution.”

Al-Marzouki believes that “the world’s great powers are conspiring with the countries of the Arab axis of evil, and they are not interested in Arab freedoms, and therefore they should not be relied upon,” calling on the Arab peoples to recover their rights through their efforts and liberate themselves by themselves.

– He describes the situation of the international community as being “under the grip of the great powers, and the liberation of the Arab peoples is the last thing that concerns them.”

– He is against the continuation of any of the symbols of the previous regime in the government and sees the survival of figures who served during the era of Ben Ali as an attempt to steal the popular revolution.

He authored 12 books in Arabic and French on medicine, human rights and democracy.

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