Fatima Bouqtaya, spokeswoman for the court in the Tunis suburb of Ariana, said that the charges facing Rached Ghannouchi, the speaker of Tunisia’s now-dissolved parliament, involve breaching and attacking state security.
The Tunisian court has imposed a travel ban on Ghannouchi and 33 other individuals as part of an inquiry into alleged obstruction of justice in connection with the assassination in 2013 of two left-wing figures.
Ghannouchi heads Ennahdha party, which has dominated Tunisia’s post-revolution politics.
Tunisia’s judiciary in January opened an investigation against the suspects for allegedly “concealing information” linked to the killing nine years ago of Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi.
Belaid and Brahmi’s defense team held a press conference entitled: “Updates of the file of Ennahdha movement’s secret apparatus.”
At the conference, the defense team revealed new data concerning political assassinations in which the leaders of the Ennahdha movement are accused of involvement.
In this regard, Iman Qazara, a member of the defense team, said that Ghannouchi has been formally charged “for crimes related to attacks on state security.”
“We are facing a party that has been implicated in crimes that affect state security,” she said.
Reda Al-Radawi, one of the defense team’s lawyers, said that Judge Bashir Al-Akrami “played the largest role in manipulating the file of the secret apparatus of the Ennahdha movement, by deliberately concealing the truth, forging documents, and misrepresenting the content of the death of Kamal Al-Quddhi, the main suspect in the assassination of Brahmi.
“We are noticing very dangerous signs these days, which will have very negative repercussions on democratic practice and on social peace,” said Noureddine al-Taboubi, the head of the Tunisian General Labor Union.
Observers believe that the main dispute is no longer exclusive to the leaders of the Ennahdha movement and President Kais Saied.
Rather, the pressure shifted heavily to the Labor Union, which refuses to participate in a dialogue in which the rest of the political parties and civil society organizations do not participate.
Ghannouchi, 81, is a fierce critic of Saied who in July 2021 suspended the Ennahdha-dominated parliament, sacked the prime minister and assumed executive powers.
Saied then dissolved parliament in March this year. His moves have stoked fears of a return to autocracy in a country where a revolution in 2011 triggered the pro-democracy Arab Spring movement in the wider region.