Tunisia: Controversial Moroccan Prince Denied Entry to Tunisia

by | Jan 19, 2023 | Diplomacy, Tunisia


On 19 January 2023, Tunisian authorities prevented Moroccan Prince Moulay Hicham and his wife from entering Tunisian territory where he was scheduled to speak at a conference on the Arab Spring. The Prince’s interaction with Tunisian authorities was reportedly respectful but no official explanation for the prevention of his entry was offered. Rabat immediately recalled its ambassador to Tunisia for consultations following the incident.

Prince Hicham was deported from Tunisia previously in 2017 when he had arrived in the country to speak on the Arab Spring.

Prince Hicham is a controversial figure, even in his home country of Morocco, where he is known for progressive and pro-democratic political views. His name was reportedly included in leaked documents that included lists of individuals that the Moroccan intelligence services had targeted for technical surveillance.


The prevention of the Prince’s entry into Tunisia is unsurprising and has precedent based on his long-running criticism of states and leaders that emerged in the post-Arab Spring environment. It is unclear to what extent his attempted entry to Tunisia was a deliberate provocation meant to stoke ongoing tensions between the two countries or a more independent display of advocacy by the Prince himself. Regardless of the intent, the incident comes at a moment in which Rabat and Tunis are notably moving apart diplomatically and economically, with Tunisia, Libya, and Algeria seemingly closing ranks as Morocco opens further to the West.


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