Tunisia -Noureddine Bhiri, the vice chairman of Ennahdha and a close associate of Rached Ghannouchi, the Islamist party’s leader and the president’s nemesis, was arrested Friday, according to reports. “Civilian agents aboard two cars detained Noureddine Bhiri as he was leaving his home in El Manar with his wife,” lawyer Samir Dilou, a resigned Ennahdha member, told AFP.
According to the same source, Mr. Bhiri, a major person within the movement, was “brutally arrested and brought to an unknown place.” Plainclothes agents also seized his wife, Sada Akremi, a lawyer. There was no official source available to provide information about the arrest’s circumstances. Ennahdha confirmed Mr. Bhiri’s detention in a statement, calling it “a kidnapping and a terrible precedent that signals the country’s admission into the dictatorship tunnel.”
Since President Kais Saied’s July 25 coup and decision to suspend the parliament that Ennahdha had ruled for a decade, the two parties have been at odds. In a statement, Ennahdha condemned “the extermination of opponents outside the law.”
Several political personalities and opponents have called for a “coup d’état” since the end of July, claiming that President Saied is attempting to settle scores with individuals he refers to as “enemies” in his speeches but never names. Former President Moncef Marzouki, who now resides in France and is a vocal critic of Mr. Saied, was sentenced in his absence to four years in prison on December 22 for “undermining state security abroad” after publicly criticizing the Tunisian administration from Paris.