Tunisian police on Thursday arrested former prime minister Hamadi Jebali, Jebali’s lawyer affirmed.
“Jebali told us he will not answer the investigators’ questions and he entered into a hunger strike as the issue has a political motivation and nothing to do with money laundering”, Jebali’s lawyer Mokhtar Jemai said.
Jebali, a former senior member of the Ennahda party, was prime minister from December 2011 to February 2013, and ran for the presidential elections in 2019.
Police in the city of Sousse seized Jebali’s phone and his wife’s phone and took him to an unknown location, according to a statement by his family on Facebook.
“The president is personally responsible for Jebali’s physical and psychological well-being,” his family said in the Facebook post, and called on civil society and human rights organisations “to stand up against these repressive practices”.
For his part, Maher Al-Madhyoub, assistant to the dissolved parliament speaker, sent a letter to the president of the Madrid Club of Heads of Government, Danielo Terk, informing him of Jebali’s arrest for the second time in less than two months.
Madhyoub said in his letter: “The Tunisian authorities are arresting your colleague, Mr. Hamadi Jebali, the former head of the Tunisian government, and he is being taken to an unknown destination in the absence of his lawyer, with unfair measures towards his family and workplace, and without the slightest regard for his health status, which caused a serious health decline for his wife.”
The interior ministry declined to comment on Jebali’s arrest. The ministry called a press conference for Friday, without giving any details.
Last July, President Kais Saied dismissed the government and seized executive power in a move his foes called a coup before setting aside the 2014 constitution to rule by decree and dismissing the elected parliament.
In this regard, we call on the Tunisian authorities to immediately release Jebali and to put an end to the ongoing malicious political arrests, in light of the ongoing unprecedented political escalation that may lead to further violence and chaos.