Rights group calls Tunisian prisoner the “oldest prisoner of conscience in Arab world”

Rights group calls Tunisian prisoner the “oldest prisoner of conscience in Arab world”
Photo: Rached Ghannouchi in 2017Credit: Creative Commons/Mouad888

According to Al Jazeera, a new group calling itself the “International Committee for Solidarity with Rached Ghannouchi” is calling for the release of one of Tunisia’s most prominent opposition leaders on the one-year-anniversary of his arrest. 

The committee says it consists of “statesmen and women and intellectuals from around the world”.

Ghannouchi, the former speaker of parliament, was detained in his home a year ago, shortly after making a speech critical of president Kais Saied. At the time, he was accused of “incitement”. 

In February, the 82-year-old was sentenced to an additional three years in prison for reportedly receiving foreign funding, which is a crime in Tunisia.

Saied says his actions are aimed at curbing corruption and promoting stability. 

But opposition and rights groups say Ghannouchi’s arrest is politically motivated and part of a wider strategy to silence critics and consolidate power. 

The committee is calling on foreign governments to demand Tunisia release “all prisoners of conscience.”

The crackdown on journalists, activists and opposition leaders comes as Tunisia gears up for a presidential election this fall. 


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