The businessman, the founder of the airline Syphax Airlines and the general director of the Telnet company, Mohamed Frikha has been arrested and placed in police custody since September 12, 2022 as part of an investigation for suspected crimes. His detention took place on the order of the public prosecutor at the anti-terrorist pole. He is accused of participating in the deportation of Tunisians to conflict areas, especially Syria.
The businessman is accused of having made his airline available to deportation circles. He would have set up a network of planes used only to transport Tunisians to Turkey. This country is known to have acted as a transit point for many jihadists to Syria.
Mr. Frikha’s lawyer, Mr. Mohamed Ali Gherib, in a statement made on 20 September 2022 to Business News, indicated that his client was available to the Anti-Terrorist Brigade. He also stated that the businessman had to appear the next day, September 21, 2022, before the State Attorney. ” The public prosecutor will decide whether the case should be left to the investigating judge or whether to initiate the investigation. The investigating judge will then decide to keep her in police custody, to release him, to issue a commitment order against him or to ban him from leaving the territory. “, he explained.
Referring to the scheduled meeting of the State Attorney, Master Gherib mentioned his client’s state of health. Mohamed Frikha had been hospitalized on September 14, 2022. Unfortunately, the businessman suffered from a heart attack. He had to be taken to Charles Nicolle Hospital. After six days in hospital, Mr Frikha had to be operated on. He was put in a first stent to prevent his coronary artery from clogging again. Mohamed Frikha will have to undergo another operation to have another stent placed. This will take place in two weeks.
The lawyer also mentioned the so-called facts that were often disclosed in connection with the arrest of his client. Master Ghribi returned to the stories mentioned by certain netizens and media. He said Frikha was even asked about an “Allahu Akbar” thrown once by a traveler. The case concerns instructions given to flight attendants to wear trousers and to “bearded” men who allegedly encouraged Syphax Airlines to travel outside Tunisia. He said that a captain had once recited the prayer of the journey (Douaa al safar) and that the latter unfortunately had the same surname as a famous leader of the Ennahdha movement.
Regarding the airline’s flights, Maître Gherib explained that this figure was much lower than that carried out by Tunisair. Over two years, Syphax Airlines provided 150 flights from Tunisia to Turkey against 400 flights for Tunisair. Regarding the establishment of the company, the lawyer denied any connection with the Ennahdha movement. Syphax Airlines had officially started its operations in 2012, when Abdelkrim Harouni was at the head of the Ministry of Transport. Nevertheless, the case had been filed in 2011 and had been authorized by the late Béji Caïd Essebsi when he held the position of head of government. The Office of Civil Aviation and Airports and the Minister of Transport had also been contacted by Frikha since 2011 about the establishment of the airline.
Regarding return flights from Turkey without passengers, Master Ghribi explained that these were largely flights providing transportation for pilgrims to Mecca. He also suggested that Turkey was a popular destination for people under judicial investigation in Tunisia. These people, involved in cases of narcotics or poor control, choose to flee to Turkey until their situation is rectified. ” Mohamed Frikha’s only crime is to have been an independent candidate on the Ennahdha movement’s electoral list for the 2014 legislative elections. He pays dearly for it!… It is alleged that the company was established to transport certain persons for a certain period. It went bankrupt when we needed it more. This is absolutely false… This company provided flights to more than thirty different destinations, including a direct flight to Montreal in Canada… The company has never provided the smallest flight between Libya and Turkey… It was flights between Sfax and Libya and fly to Turkey due to high demand… Tunisians go to Turkey because there is no visa! It’s that simple! he exclaimed.
Maître Gherib recalled that the airlines were not responsible for investigating the identity of travelers or carrying out checks. He clarified that these were tasks that fell within the powers of the Border and Customs Police and not the airline. He then mentioned that the brother of Mohamed Frikha, also arrested in connection with the same case, transported a suitcase containing millions of euros to France. ” It is believed that he was normally able to pass customs and border police checks… He arrived in France. He would have again crossed border police and customs controls on the French side. Once outside the airport, a customs officer realized he was carrying a considerably heavy suitcase. He offered to help her and that’s when he realized that my client’s brother was carrying millions of euros. The customs officer would have smiled at him and wished him a good stay! “, he added.
Mr. Frikha’s lawyer recalled that Syphax Airlines was a limited liability company incorporated in Tunisia in accordance with the law. He assured that the company was in good standing and that the documents relating to meetings, balance sheets and its management could be consulted by all. Just go to the National Business Register. It is possible to look more closely at the financing of the company and the transactions in which it participated.” Mohamed Frikha is the national winner of the baccalaureate of the year 1983… He is first in his promotion from Ecole Centrale Polytechnique de Lille… He works with Roscosmos, which is the equivalent of NASA in Russia… We destroy a glimmer of hope.. .The country has suffered for years from the spread of mediocrity! My client is in bad shape, it’s dramatic! My client is going through a really popular trial period on the networks! His health condition is worrying and he doesn’t pretend to be sick! “, he lamented