Tunisian court opens hearing on Ghannouchi charges

by | Jul 19, 2022 | World

Opposition leader faces money-laundering allegations amid sweeping power grab by President Kais Saied.Tunisia’s main opposition leader, Rached Ghannouchi, has arrived at a Tunis court for a hearing in a money-laundering investigation that his Ennahdha party rejects as a political ploy.
Dozens of Ghannouchi’s supporters stood protesting outside the court in the capital on Tuesday despite a heavy police presence for his testimony in a preliminary hearing by an investigative judge.
It comes less than a week before President Kais Saied holds a referendum on a new constitution that would greatly expand his powers in a move that Ennahda and many other parties have rejected as illegal.
Elizia Volkmann, a freelance journalist based in Tunis, told Al Jazeera the court would focus on alleged “money laundering and foreign financing, and whether this foreign financing is linked to terrorism”.
She added that Ghannouchi’s team had dismissed the hearing as an engineered “piece of political theatre” ahead of next week’s referendum.
“The big question is whether he will be arrested, charged and detained at the end of today,” Volkmann said, noting that several other senior Ennahda figures had previously been detained.
“Ghannouchi is one of Saied’s greatest critics, he has pushed back against a lot of his moves … so this is seen as a big showdown because Ghannouchi is a huge figure in Tunisian politics,” she added.
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Political turmoil
Ennahda has been a considerable political force and featured in nearly every coalition government since Tunisia’s 2011 revolution.
The …

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