Tunisian Lawyers’ Group Criticizes Power Misuse Following Arrests

Two lawyers were recently detained by police, sparking accusations against President Kais Saied by critics for oppressing lawyers, activists, opposition politicians, and media personnel after his 2021 consolidation of power.

Following a police incursion into the bar association’s headquarters resulting in the arrest of two lawyers, the association’s president condemned the move as a misuse of authority.

On Saturday, law enforcement officials raided the bar association and took Sonia Dahmani, a critic of President Saied, into custody.

Mehdi Zagrouba, who protested against Dahmani’s detention, was subsequently arrested on Monday when police re-entered the association’s premises.

Bar association chief, Hatem Meziou, criticized the detentions as excessive and an insult to their profession.

Meziou emphasized the fundamental right to defense without the misuse of power or violent tactics at a news conference in Tunis.

EU expresses ‘concern’

Some domestic opposition groups, civil society organizations, and international bodies have denounced the apprehensions.

An EU spokesperson remarked that the union is closely monitoring Tunisia’s detention of civil society members, journalists, and political figures with worry.

The European Union underscored that freedom of speech and association along with judiciary independence are enshrined in Tunisia’s constitution and form the cornerstone of their cooperation.

The US State Department also criticized these actions as being at odds with the universal rights guaranteed by Tunisia’s constitution.

Tunisian human rights organizations have accused President Saied of launching a broad attack on freedoms since asserting rule by decree in 2021.

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