Tunisian Opposition Leader Rached Ghannouchi Commences Hunger Strike in Solidarity with Detained Activists

Rached Ghannouchi, a prominent figure in Tunisia’s opposition and leader of the Ennahda party, has initiated a hunger strike in solidarity with fellow anti-government activists who remain detained, according to reports from their legal representatives.

At 82 years old, Ghannouchi, a vocal critic of President Kais Saied and his administration, has taken this action to protest against the prolonged detention of opposition figures, including himself, on charges such as incitement against police and alleged involvement in plots against state security.

In a statement released by his legal team, Ghannouchi underscored the importance of upholding democratic principles and advocated for freedom and judicial independence in Tunisia. Despite his hunger strike, he remains steadfast in his commitment to advancing a democratic Tunisia that is inclusive of all citizens.

The opposition, denouncing President Saied’s actions, particularly the dissolution of the elected parliament in 2021, which they deem a coup, has been vocal in its criticism. In contrast, Saied defends his measures as essential for restoring stability to Tunisia following years of political unrest.

Recently, six other opposition leaders commenced an indefinite hunger strike, demanding their release from detention without trial and an end to judicial harassment of political activists, journalists, and civil society members.

The detained leaders, including Jawher Ben Mbarak, Khayam Turki, Ghazi Chaouachi, Issam Chabbi, Abdelhamid Jalasi, and Rida Belhaj, were apprehended on suspicion of plotting against state security.

Accusations from the opposition point to President Saied’s alleged suppression of press freedom and undermining of democratic institutions through constitutional reforms. Conversely, Saied asserts that his actions are necessary safeguards to protect Tunisia from further instability.

Quest: Cris-Edesiri Odjomah

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