Tunisia: Ghannouchi’s Detention Continues, Quieting Opposition Voices

by | May 1, 2023 | Political, Security, Tunisia


The detention of Ennahdha Party leader Rached Ghannouchi has continued, stretching to two weeks since his initial arrest at his home in Tunis. The charges against Ghannouchi reportedly include links to terrorism and conspiracy against state security. As many as 30 opposition officials and political activists have been detained on similar charges since February.

Last week, Ghannouchi’s daughter, Soumaya Ghannouchi, announced that her father would be “boycotting” additional interrogation sessions. She asserted her belief that the continued focus on her father by security forces was a deliberate effort to degrade his mental and physical health. The 82-year-old Ghannouchi is reportedly in poor physical health.

On 26 April, the Ennahdha party named Deputy Chairman Mondher Lounissi as the Chairman to replace Ghannouchi in his absence.

Ennahdha and the main political opposition bloc – the National Salvation Front (NSF) – have been less publicly vocal since Ghannouchi’s arrest. However, on 29 April the NSF organized a small rally in defiance of a ban on their activities in the city of Tunis. Approximately 200 protesters reportedly gathered at the National Theater to protest recent political developments, and were eventually dispersed after an hour.


Ghannouchi’s detention appears to have been a loud and effective statement to the opposition from President Kais Saied’s administration. Opposition political activity has quieted significantly and the most recent NSF protest was, seemingly, as much a sign of its shrinking voice as it was of its defiance of the President.

Many Tunisians remain satisfied with the President’s actions against opposition figures. While the international media has sounded alarms about the fate of the country’s democracy, many within Tunisia are happy to see the continued crackdown on the country’s opposition politicians who are broadly viewed as the cause of the country’s challenges.

Our team is continuing to monitor the political landscape for potential indicators of shifts in the risk environment in Tunisia.


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