Tunisia arrests several prominent critics of President Said | News

The detentions came amid a wave of arrests targeting politicians and other government critics.

Tunisian police arrested two more prominent opponents of President Kais Saied and the host of a radio station that broadcast criticism of the president.

Monday’s arrests came amid a wave of arrests targeting politicians and other government critics.

Police raided the home of Noureddine Bhiri, a senior official in the main opposition Ennahdha party and a prominent critic of Saied, and took him away, his lawyer Samir Dilou told the Reuters news agency.

“Police raided Noureddine Bhiri’s house, assaulted his wife and arrested him,” Dilou said.

Bhiri was detained for two months last year, accused of helping armed fighters travel to Syria during the ISIL (ISIS) offensive, a charge he and Ennahdha have denied.

Ennahda condemned the “kidnapping of Saied’s opponents,” saying in a statement that “the expansion of the coup d’état in harassing opposition figures, journalists, businessmen and trade unionists is evidence of confusion and inability to deal with crises.”

Authorities also raided the home of Mosaique FM leader Noureddine Boutar and arrested him after searching his home, his lawyer Dalila Ben Mbarek said.

Political activist and lawyer Lazhar Akremi was also arrested, lawyers and opposition activists said.

Since Saturday, the police have detained numerous people who opposed Saied or tried to mobilize protests against him.

They included a prominent business leader with close ties across the political spectrum, a former finance minister, another former senior Ennahdha official, two judges and a former diplomat. Lawyers said they were arrested on suspicion of an attack on state security.

Neither the police nor the interior ministry nor the prime minister’s office have publicly commented on the arrests.

In July 2021, Saied closed parliament, dissolved the government and switched to rule by decree before rewriting the constitution, moves his critics called a coup that destroyed the democracy built after the 2011 revolution.

Saied denied the coup, saying his moves were legal and necessary to save Tunisia from chaos. State television has mostly stopped broadcasting interviews with critics of the president.

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