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Tunisian Opposition Leader Sentenced to Three Years for Receiving Foreign Funds

Ghannouchi’s Ennahda Party is accused of receiving foreign funds as President Kais Saied continues crackdown on opposition.

A Tunisian court has sentenced opposition leader Rached Ghannouchi to three years in prison over accusations that his Ennahda Party received foreign contributions, official news agency Tunis Afrique Press (TAP) reported, amid an escalating crackdown on dissent in the North African country.

The trial court, which specialises in financial corruption, also fined Ennahda $1.1m for receiving foreign funds, TAP said on Thursday.

Ghannouchi’s son-in-law Rafik Abdessalem, a former foreign minister, was sentenced to three years in jail as well.

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A former speaker of the Tunisian parliament, Ghannouchi, 82, was arrested last year and sentenced to one year in jail on separate charges of incitement.

Rights groups previously denounced Ghannouchi’s detention, accusing the government of President Kais Saied of repressing political opposition.

Last year’s sentence was handed to Ghannouchi in absentia because he refused to appear before the court, arguing that the charges against him were political.

“Tunisian authorities are increasingly using repressive, vaguely-worded laws as a pretext for repression and to arrest, investigate and in some cases prosecute dissidents and opposition figures,” Amnesty International said in 2023.

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“The sentencing of Rashed Ghannouchi shows a growing crackdown on human rights and opposition and a deeply worrying pattern.”

Over the past years, Tunisian authorities have arrested several prominent opposition figures as Saied pushed to consolidate power.

SourceAljazeera

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