A senior member of Tunisia’s Ennahda movement has started a hunger strike in protest against his “unjustified detention without charges.” Ahmed Mshergui is the head of the office of Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi.
This brings the total number of political detainees on hunger strike to five since the start of the arrest campaign against President Kais Saied’s political opponents.
According to a statement from Ennahda on Saturday evening, Mshergui has been held since 18 June without being interrogated or charged. He is the second Ennahda leader to go on hunger strike, following Sobhi Atiq, who has been on strike for 31 days in protest against his “arbitrary and politically-motivated arrest.”
Activist Youssef Nouri is also being held without interrogation or charge, said Ennahda. “We condemn such practices that do not respect human dignity, the country’s laws or its customs.” The movement denounced the mistreatment of political detainees, which poses a “significant risk” to the lives of all Tunisians who are only guilty of holding different opinions to those of the ruling authority.
Ahmed Mshergui was arrested in connection with investigations involving Ghannouchi, who has been in detention since April last year.
Meanwhile, lawyer Mehdi Zekrouba went on hunger strike after he was sent to prison for exposing corruption and conflicts of interest involving Minister of Justice Leila Jaffel. He ended his strike on Wednesday.
The former president of Zahrat Al-Zahra municipality, south of Tunis, Mohamed Ryan Al-Hamzawi, continues his hunger strike after being detained since May last year on charges of “conspiring against state security.” On Friday, the judiciary rejected his request for release.
Tunisia has witnessed a wave of arrests targeting politicians, journalists, activists, judges and business people since 11 February. The Tunisian president accused some detainees of “plotting against state security and being behind the crises of commodity distribution and price increases.”
The son of political detainee and former Secretary-General of the Democratic Current Party, Ghazi Al-Shawashi, has revealed that his father is being deprived of reading materials in prison, including the Noble Qur’an. Elias Al-Shawashi told independent radio station Shams FM that his father has been subjected to various forms of harassment, including the installation of surveillance cameras in his prison cell.