Tunisia puts Ennahda official under house arrest, colleague says


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A Tunisian flag flies in front of the headquarters building of the moderate Islamist party Ennahda in Tunis, Tunisia, July 29, 2021. REUTERS / Ammar Awad / File Photo

TUNIS, Aug.6 (Reuters) – The Tunisian interior ministry has placed under house arrest a senior official from the moderate Islamist party Ennahda, which opposes the president’s seizure of power, one of his colleagues said on Friday.

Anouar Maarouf is the most prominent member of the targeted party since President Kais Saied removed the prime minister and suspended parliament on July 25, calling Ennahda a coup.

Maarouf was the 2016-20 Minister of Communications and Technology, a government department that Saied suggested the parties were trying to manipulate to their advantage.

“Anouar Maarouf has been informed by official authorities that he is under house arrest,” an Ennahda official told Reuters, asking not to be named.

The Home Office was not immediately available for comment

Although Saied’s measures appear to have popular support, they have raised questions about Tunisia’s democratic transition a decade after toppling the autocratic regime in a revolution that sparked the Arab Spring of 2011.

Several politicians and officials have been arrested or indicted, including under old warrants that were executed after the president lifted parliamentary immunity.

Saied took direct control of the Home Office and the Communications and Technology Ministry, replacing the ministers in charge of both.

This week, he said he would not agree to future communications and technology ministers being tied to political parties that may want to control citizens’ data.

Ennahda is one of four political parties that justice said last week it was investigating foreign funding.

He says he hasn’t broken any rules.

The judiciary also briefly investigated four party members, including some close to the leader, Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi, over mild clashes with Saied supporters on July 26. The business was quickly abandoned, however.

Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Toby Chopra and Andrew Cawthorne

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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