Tunisia: Family of detained Ennahda figure Said Ferjani condemns lack of ‘law or due process’ under President Saied

Tunisia: Family of detained Ennahda figure Said Ferjani condemns lack of ‘law or due process’ under President Saied
3 min read
01 March, 2023
The family of detained Tunisian opposition figure Said Ferjani has condemned the 'lack of law and due process' in the country amid President Kais Saied's crackdown on protesters.
Ferjani returned to Tunisia from exile in London, and was elected as an MP for Ennahda [source: Getty]

The children of prominent Tunisian opposition figure Said Ferjani said there was "no law or due process" under President Kais Saied as they anxiously awaited news following their father’s arrest. 

Ferjani, a senior member of the Ennahda party, was detained this week amid successive rounds of questioning both before and during his imprisonment. 

The 68-year-old has been "asked everything" about his life since the 2011 Arab Spring, but no clear or evidence-based charges have been launched again him, the family told The New Arab. 

Ferjani’s arrest comes amid a crackdown on Tunisia’s opposition after Saied suspended parliament and sacked the prime minister in 2021 in a move labelled as a "coup".

Since then Saied has assumed near-dictatorial powers, instituting a new authoritarian constitution, curtailing the powers of the judiciary, and imprisoning scores of political opponents. 

"The chaos is what’s problematic," Seifeddine Ferjani, Said's son, told The New Arab. 

"There is no administrative rationality under Kais. It has nothing to do with the law and due process."  

Ferjani said "conspiracies" on social media were being used to concoct fabricated charges against his father, adding that "nothing being spread was true".  

He said there were rumours the 68-year-old recently tried to flee to Algeria or Libya, but in actuality, he was attending his brother's funeral in Tunisia. 

Photos shared by Seifeddine Ferjani show Facebook posts relating to allegations of his father’s involvement in incitement, bribes and threats. 

"It is trial by Facebook," he said. 

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Said Ferjani is a long-time member of the Ennahda movement, a moderate Tunisian Islamist party which held the largest number of seats in the parliament dissolved by Saied in 2021.

He was previously detained and tortured when President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was in power in Tunisia and later exiled to London. 

On February 11 this year, Tunisian authorities launched a campaign of arrests targeting opponents of Kais Saied, including leading figures in the National Salvation Front, and Ennahda.

They face accusations of "conspiring against the security of the state and being behind the crisis of basic goods shortages and rising prices" and "being in communication with foreign agents".

Seifeddine Ferjani said Tunisia is a "slow-moving car crash. People are waking up to the fact that this is happening. 

"I hope it’s not too late."