Tunisian security forces arrest MP critical of President Saied .’s ‘military coup’

Tunisian security forces arrested a member of parliament on Friday who condemned President Kais Saied’s seizure of power as a “military coup,” his party said.

“It’s a military coup,” independent MP Yassine Ayari said on Facebook after the president suspended parliament last Sunday and fired the prime minister.

Ayari, 30, is an outspoken critic of authorities who has had a lot to do with the law in recent years.

He was sentenced to six months in prison in 2015 for defamation of the military and was sentenced to three months in prison in 2018 for criticizing the military.

His party, Hope and Labour, said he had been arrested by members of the president’s security team who had not issued an arrest warrant.

Ayari’s wife said on Facebook that his detention was “violent”.

There was no immediate confirmation from the president’s office or prosecutors about the arrest.

The President’s Coup of Power

The president’s seizure of power, including a 30-day suspension of parliament, has plunged Tunisia into political turmoil.

His opponents accuse him of committing a “coup d’état”, but Saied has said his actions are justified under the constitution which allows the head of state to take unspecified exceptional measures in the event of an “imminent threat”.

In a Facebook post, Ayari said the president’s actions “were a constitutional inversion… using the military.”

Saied also announced a crackdown on corruption and charged 460 businessmen with embezzlement.

On top of the political turmoil, the North African nation is beset by a crippling economic crisis, including soaring inflation and high unemployment, as well as rising Covid-19 infections.


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