A Tunisian adviser expressed on Sunday that Tunisia’s public prosecutor has rejected a request by Tunisian President Kais Saied to arrest Ennahda deputy leader Noureddine Bhairi.
Ennahda’s deputy leader was placed under house arrest for his alleged involvement in activities related to terrorism.
Riadh Chaibi, an adviser to Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi, stated in a Facebook post that the Tunisian president had asked the country’s public prosecutor to issue an arrest warrant for Bhairi, though the public prosecutor rejected the request due to lack of evidence.
Tunisian authorities have made no comments thus far on the claim.
Bhairi and a ministry official were placed under house arrest by Interior Minister Taoufik Charfeddine on January 3 over accusations of issuing false identity documents to a Syrian couple while serving as justice minister. One of the individuals has been previously linked to terrorist cases committed outside Tunisian territory.
The accusations against Bhairi have been deemed “politicized” by Ennahda, the largest party in the currently-suspended Tunisian parliament. Ennahda further called for Bhairi’s immediate release.
Bhairi was transferred to Habib Bougatfa Hospital in the northern city of Bizerte after his health deteriorated due to his hunger strike in protest of his detention.
On July 25, 2021, Kais Saied ousted the government suspended parliament and assumed executive authority. While he insists that his “exceptional measures” are meant to “save” the country, critics have accused him of orchestrating a coup.