Tunisian Interior Minister Kamal Al-Faqi has confirmed that there are no political prisoners in Tunisia. He explained that the precautionary measures taken against individuals affiliated with the opposition are aimed at preserving the state’s rights to pursue individuals wanted by the justice system.
In statements made through the official Facebook page of the Ministry of Interior, Al-Faqi stated that the term “political prisoners” is intended to tarnish the behavior of Tunisian authorities in dealing with those under suspicion.
He further clarified that the precautionary measures taken against individuals associated with the opposition are meant to safeguard the state’s rights to track down individuals wanted by the justice system, with some of them being placed under house arrest under the provisions of the state of emergency law. He emphasized that all actions are carried out within the framework of the law and with the permission of the public prosecutor.
Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of the Ennahda Movement, had declared a hunger strike from his prison cell at the Mornaguia prison west of the Tunisian capital, asserting that those detained in espionage and conspiracy cases are political prisoners. He called for their release and an end to the trials.
In early September, the Ministry of Interior placed the head of the Shura Council of the Ennahda Movement under house arrest for three days, citing him as a threat to public security. Subsequently, he was arrested and imprisoned in a corruption case related to his previous role as Minister of Transport in 2012.
Al-Faqi also addressed the issue of Tunisian authorities denying entry to members of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. He stated that there should be a distinction between the delegation claiming to represent the European Parliament and the actual European Parliament. He pointed out that the four members of the delegation were acting independently and had engaged in a campaign against Tunisian authorities aimed at tarnishing the reputation of Tunisia and the government’s policies toward African migrants.
According to the Minister, these four members of the European Parliament organized their visit independently without prior coordination with Tunisian authorities and considered themselves guests, which was not welcomed by the Tunisian side.
Regarding the planned visit of the European Parliament’s delegation to Tunisia, Al-Faqi mentioned that the statement issued by the Tunisian Presidency was clear, as it requested a postponement to discuss the points that need negotiation regarding the agreement.
It’s worth noting that Tunisia had previously rejected the entry of a delegation consisting of five members of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, who intended to visit Tunisia to assess the current political situation and engage with various political and civil society actors.
Finally, President Kais Saied had previously expressed his reservations about foreign delegations visiting Tunisia, referring to them as “colonial inspections.” He emphasized that Tunisia will not accept any infringement on its sovereignty and that the country operates with more transparency than those countries that have a history of colonization in Africa.