Ali Laârayedh, Ridha Jaouadi, Mohamed Frikha, Mohamed Affes. After being in police custody for a few hours for some and a few days for others, they were all released.
Other political figures named in this case of sending young Tunisians to conflict areas, especially Syria, include the President of the Dissolved Assembly Rached Ghannouchi, the former Minister of Religious Affairs Noureddine Khadmi, the former President of the Republic Moncef Marzouki and a large number senior officials from the Ministry of the Interior.
This affair was followed very closely by a public opinion hostile to the Islamists. We have forgotten the shortage and the inflation to hope that we will finally put in prison those who have weakened Tunisia’s image internationally. At one time, the Tunisian nationality was the most represented in the ranks of Daesh. These terrorists went to Iraq and Syria, there must be a party that took responsibility for them to send them there. This was and still is widely accepted.
By questioning Ennahdha’s political leaders, the imams, the head of Syphax Airlines and the security chiefs, the prosecution provides the answer that the “public” expects. It is as if he has captured the entire chain of fog: the imams who incited the credulous to leave for Jihad, the political party that finances, the representatives of the state that facilitate the journey, and the airline that takes care of their transportation.
Except here the case seems to be pschitt. With the exception of the security cadres, all the Islamists have been released. Since yesterday they have thoroughly played victimization, a specialty at which they have always excelled.
One of two things. Either the prosecution has poorly prepared its case files and the investigating judge has found nothing to justify their detention. Either the prosecution has prepared its case files well and the investigating judge has been found to be complicit with the Islamists by releasing them. In both cases there is a problem in the legal chain. In both cases, the state failed somewhere.
To defend their president, Kaïs Saïed aficionados draw attention to the independence of the investigative judge who freed these Islamists. A proof, according to them, that justice is not in the pay of power, as the media and international organizations repeat.
They just fail to specify that if the judge is independent, the prosecution is not. Depending hierarchically and concretely on the Minister of Justice, the prosecution has failed in this story.
If we stick to the testimony of the defendants’ lawyers, in particular Samir Dilou, Ahmed Néjib Chebbi, Seïf Eddine Makhlouf and Mohamed Ali Gherib, the case files are completely empty. The entire procedure was initiated following a complaint filed by Member of Parliament Fatma Mseddi based on testimony of questionable credibility when she was on a parliamentary committee.
The prosecution began the procedure without thorough investigations and without having collected enough evidence to substantiate its charges before proceeding with the arrest of the suspects.
He banned Noureddine Khadmi from traveling and placed Ali Laârayedh, Ridha Jaouadi, Mohamed Frikha, Mohamed Affes in custody in total violation of the presumption of innocence.
What the prosecution has done greatly pleases the vengeful anti-Islamist public eager to find the guilty, but it is in total violation of the principles of law and justice.
Politically, the prosecution offered the Islamists a golden gift and thus enabled them to whitewash themselves in the face of national and international public opinion.
They have faced the most infamous charges for years for their role in sending young Tunisians to Daesh, so here is a judge giving them a discharge of sorts. Of course, the investigation is still ongoing, of course the trial is still ongoing, but the fact is that the investigating judge has not found anything in the files that the prosecution has presented at this time.
The second hypothesis, that the investigating judge is an accomplice of the Islamists, does not hold water. No judge, however ideological, can take the risk of releasing a terrorist suspect when he has a solid case before him proving his involvement. Moreover, if this was the case, nothing prevented the prosecutor’s office from appealing and keeping them in custody for a few more days until the Prosecutor’s Chamber looks into the case.
What has happened in the last 24 hours is nothing new. The Kaïs Saïed regime has already proceeded in this way to put innocent political figures under house arrest or even in prison.
The most emblematic case is undoubtedly Mehdi Ben Gharbia’s. The former human rights minister has languished in prison since October 2021, while the investigating judge decided to release him.
The most spectacular case is that of Noureddine Bhiri, who was kidnapped in front of his home, to be placed in a warehouse in a no-man’s land near Bizerte. After a hunger strike that lasted two months, during which the former justice minister came close to death, he was released without any charges against him. However, it must be remembered that the Minister of the Interior himself accused him of being involved in a serious relationship of a terrorist nature.
Other cases where the Minister of the Interior or the President of the Republic have spoken and who have done pschitt, those of Chawki Tabib, Mofdi Mseddi, Lotfi Ben Sassi, Lotfi Ali, Ahmed Smaoui. All these political figures had to go through prison or house arrest without any solid case against them.
It becomes clear that the political power is trying to satisfy a certain public opinion that thirsts for primitive revenge on political personalities who have created enemies within the framework of the performance of their work in the state.
Mehdi Ben Gharbia was even subjected to blackmail attempts, recorded evidence to support. Strangely enough, he is the one in prison, while his prosecutor-blackmailers have never been concerned.
The social unrest is deep, with all these shortages and this inflation. The Kaïs Saïed regime must provide the population with tranquilizers and is therefore looking for distractions. Regularly for a year he has offered a show with alleged corrupt or terrorist political figures. And every time his show ends in a fishtail.
The Kaïs Saïed regime is in dire straits, it has been unable to raise the economic bar, unable to provide concrete answers to Tunisians’ priorities, unable to be effective, it is not even able to set scenarios with diversion and litigation. However, it is the ba-ba of every dictatorship. No one in a democracy, he is no one in a dictatorship either.
Raouf Ben Hedi