Since July 25, the President of the Republic, Kais Saied, has continued to multiply threats and incitement against the various actors on the Tunisian political scene. The head of state attacked political parties, especially Ennahda, the country’s most important Islamic movement.
The head of state, Kais Saied, has given himself the task of initiating legal proceedings and arrests among the leaders of Ennahda. In almost all of his speeches, Qais Said spoke about corruption and about a corrupt political party that exploits Islam and blames it for the deteriorating economic, social and political situation. The head of state spoke of embezzlement of funds and property and conspiracy to undermine national security. He even accused MPs of accepting bribes to vote in favor of certain laws.
In the last episode of this recurring series, we find attempts to charge one of the former leaders of the Ennahda movement: Hammadi Jebali. The latter, known for his famous statement of “Capital is a coward”, held the position of Prime Minister from December 2011 to March 2013. He reached this position after the formation of a coalition called the Troika by Ennahda, the Ettakatol and the Congress for the Republic. Nine years after leaving the Casbah, Hamdi Jebali finds himself once again in the midst of a new political controversy. The counter-terrorism group arrested him on suspicion of money laundering.
The Interior Ministry held an emergency press conference the day after the arrest to clarify some of the current issues, including the arrest of Hammadi al-Jabali. The ministry’s spokesperson, Fadela Al-Khulaifi, confirmed that the former prime minister was behind suspicious financial transactions linked to the “Namaa” association. The Committee for the Defense of the Martyrs Belaid and Brahmi mentioned this relationship in the two cases of political assassination. The novel is that this association is a front for money laundering and illegal financing of the Ennahda movement and its parallel structures.
On the part of the Islamists, the executive branch was immediately condemned and criticized for calling this detention illegal. Hamadi Al-Jabali’s defense team claimed that the Interior Ministry had lied and tried to distort him, leading to misleading public opinion. The defense team believed that this unjustified arrest represented the culmination of a campaign of harassment that targeted him for several months.
Only four days after the arrest, the investigating judge at the judicial pole decided to release the former prime minister. Even a member of the Defense Committee, Samir Dilo, posted a photo in which he was in the car with Hammadi Al-Jabali and mocked the established authority. The judge fired by decree, Hammadi Rahmani, was quick to salute the investigating judge and the Tunisian judges for their refusal to obey the instructions and intimidation of Justice Minister Leila Javel and the executive branch. Confirmation takes place during the fourth consecutive week of the judicial strike.
The Hammadi al-Jabali case is really just the tip of the iceberg of Qais Said’s failures against the Islamists. Long before that, Said had shown the incompetence of the executive.
Noureddine El-Beheiry, another figure in the Ennahda movement, was exposed to the same. The arrest of Hammadi al-Jabali is very similar to the arrest of Noureddine Buhairi. The latter was arrested on 31 December 2021 by security forces in civilian clothes and then placed under house arrest in an unknown location. The Islamists described the incident as an attempted kidnapping and assassination.
Noureddine Beheiry was released on March 7, 2022 after 65 days of detention and a brutal hunger strike.
Several other examples confirm the lack of coherence or coordination between the authorities, or what has remained of it since the dissolution of Parliament by the Head of State on 30 March 2022. A decision was taken after the full session was held on the same date. The President of the Republic also ordered the Minister of Justice, Laila Jaffal, to try the participants in the plenary session on charges of conspiracy against national security. Of course, the latter rushed to carry out the instructions of the President of the Republic, and the anti-terror group summoned thirty deputies from 121 deputies who participated in the plenary session. Rached Ghannouchi took the opportunity to present himself as a true symbol of resistance!
We can also mention the airport issue of the Dignity Coalition deputies. Among the accused we mention Seif El-Din Makhlouf, Muhammad Al-Afas and Nidal Al-Saudi. The three were the subject of legal action before the military court.
Another example of the exploitation of the judiciary and justice by Laila Jaffal for political purposes and under the policies of Kais Saied: the opening of an investigation against the movement’s secretary general, Ghazi Al-Shawashi, on charges of dissemination of false information.
So far, no investigations have been opened or investigations have been directed at decision-makers, senior officials appointed by the Ennahda movement, or party leaders in cases of corruption or embezzlement of public funds, contrary to what the head of state has said since the monopoly of the authorities and during the past eleven months. With every verdict on this subject, the head of state deceives himself and gradually shakes his credibility, his sense, his noble motives and the legality of his actions which he repeatedly mentions.
His current conflict with the judges has further complicated the case. Initially, Qais Saeed verbally attacked the judges. Then he dissolved the Supreme Council of the Judiciary under the pretext of the failure of this structure. He composed a provisional council composed largely of the same members. Still dissatisfied with the independence of the judiciary and the judges’ refusal to submit to certain orders, Qais Said assigned the few powers granted to the Provisional Judicial Council to himself and decided to dismiss the judges by decree. But in vain! The judges reject it and hold on to their independence. A situation that still worries the president. In the new constitution, the judiciary would be just a simple function according to the members of the committee that drafted this proposal. The judges will therefore have only one month to say no to Said’s constitution.
Translation from the French text