Middle East, Africa

Wife of detained Tunisian politician starts hunger strike

Saida Akremi’s husband Noureddine Bhairi admitted to hospital after his health deteriorated

Murad al-Dallaji   | 07.01.2022
Wife of detained Tunisian politician starts hunger strike

BIZERTE, Tunisia

The wife of a senior Tunisian politician started a hunger strike Thursday in protest against his continued detention. 

Saida Akremi, whose husband Noureddine Bhairi is the deputy chairman of the Ennahdha party, told Anadolu Agency that security personnel at the hospital where her husband has been transferred have refused to provide her with food.

"I started a hunger strike in protest of the continued imprisonment of my husband and for denying food for me," Akremi said.

Bhairi, 63, was transferred to Habib Bougatfa Hospital in the northern city of Bizerte after his health deteriorated due to his hunger strike.

"Despite denying me food, I was not subjected to any pressure or mistreatment, whether by the medical staff or the security officers at the hospital," Akremi said.

She added that she tried to convince her husband to end his hunger strike, but he refused.

On Wednesday, his doctor, Hatem Ghadoun, warned that his condition is serious in light of his hypertension and diabetes along with heart issues.

On Monday, Interior Minister Taoufik Charfeddine accused Bhairi of being involved in terrorism-related activities for allegedly issuing false identity documents to a Syrian couple while he was serving as justice minister, with one of the individuals previously linked to terrorist cases committed outside Tunisian territory.

The Ennahdha party, the largest party in the now suspended Tunisian parliament, said the accusations against Bhairi are "politicized" and called for his immediate release, holding President Kais Saied and Charfeddine responsible for his well-being.

Saied ousted the government on July 25 last year, suspended parliament and assumed executive authority. While he insists that his "exceptional measures" are meant to "save" the country, critics have accused him of orchestrating a coup.

*Writing by Ahmed Asmar in Ankara

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