Tunisian Police Arrest Lawyer and Journalists in Raid on Lawyers’ Guild

Tunisian police conducted a raid on the Deanship of Lawyers’ building on Saturday, apprehending Sonia Dahmani, a prominent lawyer known for her outspoken criticism of President Kais Saied, as reported by witnesses present at the scene.

In addition to Dahmani, two journalists from IFM radio, Mourad Zghidi and Borhen Bsaiss, were also arrested, according to an official from the country’s primary journalists’ syndicate.

As of now, the interior ministry has not provided any immediate comment on the incident.

This incident marks the latest in a series of arrests and investigations targeting activists, journalists, and civil society organizations critical of President Saied and his government, fueling concerns among opponents about the rise of authoritarianism in the country ahead of the upcoming presidential elections later this year.

Dahmani’s arrest followed her recent remarks on a television program where she criticized the living conditions in Tunisia, prompting a response from President Saied who claimed there was a conspiracy to encourage undocumented migrants from Sub-Saharan countries to remain in Tunisia.

Subsequently, Dahmani was summoned before a judge on Wednesday on charges of spreading rumors and undermining public security, but she requested a postponement of the investigation, which was denied by the judge.

In response to the arrests, dozens of lawyers took to the streets in protest on Saturday night, displaying banners with slogans such as “Our profession will not kneel” and “We will continue the struggle”.

President Saied ascended to power through free elections in 2019 but later consolidated additional authority by dissolving the elected parliament and assuming control through decree, raising concerns about the erosion of democratic norms and freedoms in Tunisia.

Despite Tunisia’s reputation for relatively open media environments following the 2011 revolution, politicians, journalists, and unions have expressed serious concerns about the state of press freedom under Saied’s administration. However, the president has refuted accusations of authoritarianism, asserting his commitment to democratic principles.

0 0
Article Categories:

Comments are closed.