Tunisia's Ennahda leader summoned to court to face 'false' terror, money laundering allegations
Rached Ghannouchi, who is also the former parliament speaker, appeared before the investigative judge of the Court of First Instance in the city of Sousse, as a suspect in the so-called "Instalingo case".
The case dates back to October 2021 when authorities arrested a number of employees at the Instalingo company - a firm specialised in the translation and editing of written digital content - on charges of espionage and conspiracy against the state.
"Lawyers and judges confirmed that the case is void and false, and that there is no crime or accusations," Ghannouchi told reporters before entering the court.
He has repeatedly denied allegations against him, including terrorism and money laundering charges.
"My presence here will not reduce the prices of commodities, not will it provide security, nor will it solve the problem of rigged elections," he said in reference to the multitude of crises facing Tunisia, in the grips of an economic crisis.
"The existing regime is running away from its problem and the people's demands."
The main opposition leader stressed that he was holding onto his immunity, but that he came to the court "out of respect for the law".
Ennahda party lawyer Samir Al-Triki told the Anadolu Agency on Wednesday that the investigative judge will question Ghannouchi and take statements from his lawyers before deciding whether to arrest or release him.
Al-Tariki stressed that "Ghannouchi has no connection with and does not know the Instalingo company".
Ennahda has accused police of using the investigation to intimidate their members due to the party's opposition to President Kais Saied who seized complete control of Tunisia in July 2021 after a power grab.
Saied's critics accuse him of carrying out a coup and ultimately dismantling the democratic gains won after the 2011 revolution.
The president says his actions were legal and necessary to save Tunisia from years of political paralysis and corruption.