Tunisia’s main opposition leader Rached Ghannouchi sentenced to one year in prison 

Ghannouchi’s party and his supporters believe his conviction is politically motivated and part of President Kais Saied’s attempts to silence opposition in the country 

May 16, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
Ennahda head sentenced Tunisia

Rached Ghannouchi, the head of Ennahda—the main opposition party in Tunisia — was sentenced to a year in prison by a court on Monday, May 15. He was found guilty of incitement to violence and terrorism, TRT World reported.  

According to reports, the court pronounced its judgment in Ghannouchi’s absence. He had earlier refused to appear before the courts in the country, accusing the government of fabricating charges against him. 

Ghannouchi (81) was arrested in April on charges of plotting against state security. Since then, he has been charged in several other cases. The former speaker of the Tunisian parliament and leader of the Islamist Ennahda party has been a vocal opponent of President Kais Saied. 

Opposition parties and civil society have fiercely condemned President Saied’s political decisions since he dismissed the elected government and suspended the parliament in July 2021. They have termed it a “political coup” and asked for his resignation. 

Saied has pushed for changes in the country’s political system and introduced a new constitution and held new elections despite popular opposition. Apart from Ghannouchi, a large number of other political activists and leaders, including some from the country’s largest trade union—the UGTT—have been arrested and sent to prisons on various charges ranging from acting against state security to corruption.  

Ennahda issued a statement condemning Ghannouchi’s conviction, calling it an “unjust political” punishment.  

The National Salvation Front, a group of opposition political parties led by Ennahda formed to oppose Saied’s rule, also issued a statement demanding the immediate release of all political detainees in the country.