Middle East

Detained Ennahda politician stages hunger strike in Tunisia

Ennahda said Noureddine El-Beheiry hospitalized in ‘very dangerous condition’

Adel al-Thabti   | 03.01.2022
Detained Ennahda politician stages hunger strike in Tunisia

TUNIS, Tunisia

The detained deputy leader of Tunisia’s Ennahda party has been refusing food and medication in hospital, a local human rights group said on Monday.

Fathi al-Jari, head of the Association for the Prevention of Torture, said he met late Sunday with Noureddine El-Beheiry at a hospital in Bizerte alongside with a delegation from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"El-Beheiry, 63, has staged a brutal hunger strike and refuses to take medicine," al-Jari told Anadolu Agency.

He pointed out that "El-Beheiry told the delegation that he was transferred from the capital, Tunis [following his arrest] to the National Guard Center in the city of Menzel Jamil [in Bizerte province], then to the Agricultural Vocational Training Center in Bizerte, where he was under house arrest, and later to Bizerte Hospital."

Al-Jari stated that Ennahda’s deputy leader "considers himself in a case of abduction, and he has a single request, which is to hold his abductors accountable."

Regarding his health condition, he said El-Beheiry is "conscious, but his health condition is fragile", adding that he suffers from complications of a heart surgery he underwent earlier.

Meanwhile, the attorneys of El-Beheiry filed on Monday a complaint with the Public Prosecution against President Kais Saied and Interior Minister Tawfiq Sharaf el-Din over the Ennahda deputy leader’s detention.

On Sunday evening, an Ennahda member said el-Beheiry was hospitalized in a "very dangerous condition" and he was "facing death," adding that "for three days he has been without food, water and medicine."

On Friday, Ennahda Movement said that El-Beheiry was abducted and taken to an unknown destination, and held the president and the interior minister responsible for his disappearance.

A lawyer and politician, El-Beheiry served as a justice minister in 2011-2013 and then became a minister accredited to the prime minister in 2013-2014.

The Tunisian president ousted the government on July 25, 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 Mahmoud Barakat

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