Ennahda's Ghannouchi in court over 'money-laundering' charges
Head of the Ennahda Movement, Rached Ghannouchi, appears in court over charges of "money laundering" and "incitement to violence."
The speaker of Tunisia's dissolved parliament appeared in court on Thursday over money laundering and "incitement to violence" charges.
The Speaker, Rached Ghannouchi, also head of the Ennahdha party that dominated Tunisian politics for a decade until President Kais Saied took power in mid-2021, was previously questioned in July.
Other Ennahdha members also face prosecution over suspicious transactions involving Instalingo, a digital content production firm.
The company has been under investigation over accusations of "plotting against state security" and inciting violence since last year.
The investigating judge released Ghannouchi after a 14-hour hearing, his lawyer Sami Triki said, adding that Ghannouchi will still be prosecuted in this case, but that no date for the next hearing has been set yet.
Ghannouchi arrived earlier in the day at court, in the coastal city of Sousse, where he revealed to journalists that the case was an "empty file" and questioned its authenticity by accusing it of being an "invented problem".
"This is trumped-up and aimed at distracting the Tunisian people from the real problems we're facing," he said.
He criticized Saied's July 2021 power grab, during which the President sacked the Ennahdha-supported government, seized full executive authority, dissolved the parliament, according to Ghannouchi, and pushed through a constitution giving his own office almost unlimited powers.
Ennahdha denies all the charges against its members.
Two days ago, Ghannouchi, confirmed his readiness to tender his resignation from his speakership if the resolution of the political crisis was linked to his resignation, calling on President Saied to return to the constitution and postpone his plans.
Ghannouchi, in an interview for Assabah Daily, said if the solution lay with his resignation then he would not think twice about doing so and would resign from his speakership.
He considered that Tunisia lies before a fork in the road, whereby the President must either back down from his measures, or the crisis will continue, only to be resolved by early elections. He also stressed that he believes that the people of Tunisia will not back down from its democratic gains and that this is something everyone must realize.
The Speaker added that he has spoken with President Saied on more than one occasion so that he would sign off on the electoral law which had before been agreed upon with the late President Beji Caid Essebsi, but Saied did not do so, as he, according to Ghannouchi, wishes to implement his political project which has shown to be out of line with the constitution and the current electoral law.
Ghannouchi, deputy called for questioning
Tunisian Ennahda movement confirmed on September 18 that the movement's head, Rached Ghannouchi, and his deputy, Ali Larayedh, have been called for questioning by police for sending militants to Syria.
In a statement, the movement warned of the danger of the decision pursued by the coup authority and its attempts to target the opposition, indicating that the current events are part of an effort to distract the public from its economic and social concerns and deteriorating living conditions.
Ennahda stressed that what is happening will not deter the movement from defending the legitimate rights of Tunisians and supporting their legal movements, adding that it will provide the national public opinion with more information on this issue.
Al Mayadeen's correspondent in Tunisia cited political sources as saying that the police had summoned Ghannouchi and Larayedh for questioning.
Our correspondent also reported that Tunisian security arrested the former leader of the Ennahda movement Habib El-Louz to investigate a case related to sending Tunisians to fight in Syria.
"A special squad has arrested Tunisian Ennahda movement Habib El-Louz in the city of Sfax in the country's center, as part of ongoing investigations into a case related to recruiting Tunisians and sending them to fight in Syria," as per local security and media sources.
It is worth noting that El-Louz is accused of being one of the most prominent instigators of the fighting in Syria after the fall of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's regime.