UN concern about developments in Tunisia .. “kidnapping” of another leader from Ennahda and Marzouki renews his warnings

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his concern over the development of the situation in Tunisia with the exacerbation of tension in the country after new measures taken by President Kais Saied, which his opponents considered a blow to media freedom and the independence of the judiciary.

While former Tunisian President Mohamed Moncef Marzouki expressed his solidarity with the former dean of lawyers after he was referred to the military court, the Ennahda movement said that the security forces had kidnapped one of its leaders and transferred him to an unknown destination.

In a press conference held at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Guterres said that “the Tunisian democratic revolution was something that inspired hope around the world, and we certainly want to preserve it with all democratic values.”

“We hope that will happen, we see the concerns, and I hope that these fears are removed by the full restoration of an institutional democratic framework that works for all Tunisians,” he added.

In scenes not seen in the capital for 10 years, the police used water cannons, tear gas and batons to disperse the demonstrators, and arrested dozens at Friday’s demonstration to celebrate the anniversary of the 2011 revolution and to denounce Said’s decisions.

Last Saturday, more than 20 Tunisian NGOs denounced the “police repression and barbaric attack” against journalists and demonstrators during the protests.

In response to these criticisms, Saied said that “liberties are guaranteed in Tunisia more than ever before,” stressing that “the law is applied to everyone.”

Judicial Council crisis

In the latest developments in the crisis of the Supreme Judicial Council, the Council renewed its rejection of smear campaigns against its members, stressing that it will continue to perform its duties in defense of the independence of the judiciary.

The council’s statement came two days after President Saeed issued a decree to end the grants and privileges granted to the 45 council members.

A day later, Saeed said that the judiciary is free, and that he is working to remain so, but he stressed that the judiciary is not the state or the government, and it must implement the law, adding that what he called impunity must end.

In a statement, the Supreme Judicial Council warned of the danger of compromising the constitutional structure of the judiciary, calling on judges to uphold their independence, condemning interference in its work and refusing to continue to violate its powers.

On the other hand, the head of the Supreme Judicial Council, Youssef Bouzakher, said that the council believes that the decree to stop grants issued by Saied prejudices the judicial authority and the powers of the Supreme Judicial Council, stressing – in an interview with Al Jazeera the day before yesterday Thursday – that this decree will not deter judges from carrying out their duties.

The trial of the Dean of Lawyers

For his part, former Tunisian President Mohamed Moncef Marzouki expressed his solidarity with the former Dean of Lawyers Abdel Razzaq Al Kilani, after he was referred to the military court.

Al Jazeera learned that the Tunis Lawyers’ Branch received a correspondence from the Military Court of Appeal in Tunis to inform him of referring Al-Kilani to the military judiciary, for what he called “acts criminalized by law”, without mentioning those acts referred to.

“All my solidarity with Brigadier General Abdul Razzaq Al-Kilani,” Al-Marzouki said on his Facebook page, adding, “Saeed is in the process of destroying the state, disrupting the unity of the people, and referring the best patriots before a civilian and military judiciary that seeks to implicate him in his delirium.”

Marzouki called “all the nation’s institutions, especially the military and security establishment, to stop this great tragedy that has befallen Tunisia.”

“Kidnapping” a leader from the Ennahda

Meanwhile, the leader of the Ennahda movement, Muhammad al-Qumani, said that the security forces “kidnapped” the local general secretary of the movement in the city of Regueb (center-west), Ahmed al-Jalali, and transferred him to an unknown destination.

Al-Qumani explained that the security forces raided Al-Jalali’s house, without invoking a name or an invitation, and that “some items from his house were seized.”

And before Jalali, Ennahda announced the kidnapping of the leader, Noureddine Al-Buhairi, on December 31, by security men in civilian clothes, and taking him to an unknown destination.

In the same context, Frozen Parliament Speaker Rashid Ghannouchi said during the funeral of the protester Reda Bouziane, who died after being injured in the demonstrations last Friday, that his killing is a state crime, adding that the accused is the Minister of Interior and President Qais Saeed, until proven otherwise, according to his expression.

The Ennahda Movement and Citizens Against the Coup say that Bouziane died as a result of the security forces’ assault on him during the celebration of the anniversary of the revolution.

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