Article Tunisia: Speaker and Members of Parliament Charged with 'Conspiracy against State Security'

On April 5, 2022, Tunisia’s Counter-Terrorism Judicial Pole questioned the speaker of the now-dissolved parliament and Ennahda Party head Rached Ghannouchi concerning a charge that he had violated internal state security. Additionally, the pole has reportedly questioned at least 29 other members of parliament regarding the same charge. The counter-terrorism pole accused Ghannouchi and other members of parliament of establishing a coalition with the intent of conspiring against Tunisian internal security.

Law No. 46 of 2005, which amended the Tunisian Criminal Code, provides that whoever forms a coalition to conspire against the internal security of the state by attempting to change its structure is punishable by a term of imprisonment of five years.

The questioning was ordered by Minister of Justice Leila Jaffel after Ghannouchi and 119 other members of parliament held a virtual parliamentary session on March 30, 2022, in defiance of President Kais Saied’s controversial July 2021 presidential decree suspending all sessions of parliament.

Counter-Terrorism Judicial Pole

The Counter-Terrorism Judicial Pole (established by the second new paragraph of chapter 40 of Organic Law No. 9 of January 23, 2019, amending and completing Organic Law No. 26 of August 7, 2015, concerning the Combating of Terrorism and Prevention of Money Laundering) is a judicial body in charge of investigating and prosecuting crimes related to terrorism. It is located in the Court of Appeal in Tunis. Prosecutors and investigative judges investigating crimes related to terrorism are appointed on the basis of their experience. The first instance court in Tunis is the only court with jurisdiction over terrorism offenses.

Reactions to the Counter-Terrorism Pole’s Charges

Ghannouchi has dismissed the charges as politically motivated and without legal validity. In a TV interview, he claimed that the members of the parliament who were questioned by the counter-terrorism pole had been elected by the Tunisian people and were now being treated as terrorists for no valid reason. Ghannouchi also declared that the virtual parliamentary meetings would continue despite the ongoing legal charges and called for street protests to take place on April 9, 2022.

On the other hand, President Saied condemned the virtual parliamentary meetings, considering them as hostile acts against the stability and security of the state. Additionally, Saied accused Ennahda of instigating civil fighting among Tunisians.

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Tunisia: Speaker and Members of Parliament Charged with 'Conspiracy against State Security'
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Chicago citation style:

Tunisia: Speaker and Members of Parliament Charged with 'Conspiracy against State Security'. 2022. Web Page. https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2022-04-14/tunisia-speaker-and-members-of-parliament-charged-with-conspiracy-against-state-security/.

APA citation style:

(2022) Tunisia: Speaker and Members of Parliament Charged with 'Conspiracy against State Security'. [Web Page] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2022-04-14/tunisia-speaker-and-members-of-parliament-charged-with-conspiracy-against-state-security/.

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Tunisia: Speaker and Members of Parliament Charged with 'Conspiracy against State Security'. 2022. Web Page. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2022-04-14/tunisia-speaker-and-members-of-parliament-charged-with-conspiracy-against-state-security/>.

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