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Among them is Ghannouchi.. The families of the Tunisian detainees resort to the African Court to request their release


Yousra Ghannouchi said that the relatives were calling on the United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom to impose targeted sanctions on Saied and several of his ministers, “who are all implicated in human rights abuses.”

Families of Tunisian opposition figures arrested in a government crackdown filed a petition with the African Court of Human Rights, on Wednesday, to demand the immediate release of their relatives.

Since early February, the North African country’s authorities have arrested more than 20 political opponents and other figures, drawing condemnation from the international community and rights groups.

Among those arrested was Rashid Ghannouchi, the former Speaker of Parliament and one of the most prominent critics of Tunisian President Kais Saied, who dissolved Parliament in July 2021 as part of the power grab.

Ghannouchi, 81, the leader of Tunisia’s Ennahda party, was arrested in April and sentenced to a year in prison on May 15 on terrorism charges.

His daughter, Yousra Ghannouchi, said the charges against her father were “politically motivated and fabricated” and part of Saied’s attempt to “eliminate the opposition”.

For his part, Tunisian President Said claims that those arrested in the crackdown were “terrorists” involved in a “conspiracy against state security”. While opponents described his actions as a “coup” and a return to authoritarian rule in the only democracy that emerged from the Arab Spring uprisings in the region more than a decade ago.

Yousra Ghannouchi and other relatives of the detainees brought the case before the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Arusha, Tanzania, as part of a global campaign to demand their freedom.

“We hope this will lead to their release and justice for them,” she told AFP in Nairobi, on the eve of a trip to Arusha.

She added that the relatives were calling on the United States, the European Union and Britain to impose targeted sanctions on Saeed and several of his ministers, “all implicated in human rights violations.”

Their British lawyer, Rodney Dixon, stated that they wanted the Arusha court to conclude that the actions of the Tunisian authorities violated the Charter of Human Rights in Africa and to issue a temporary release order for the detainees.

“They are trying to fight their cases in Tunisia, but the obstacle is that all the doors are closed,” he said, adding that the case in Arusha was on behalf of six of those arrested. “There is no justice through the system there… That is why they have to go to the African Court to ask for its intervention.”

The British lawyer pointed out that the detainees were unable to contact lawyers on a regular basis and were having difficulty obtaining appropriate medical care.

Yousra Ghannouchi said she worries about her father’s health because he suffers from high blood pressure and “he is no longer young.”

Ghannouchi was imprisoned twice in the 1980s for his secret political activities before he went into exile for 20 years and then returned after former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was overthrown in the 2011 Arab Spring revolution.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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