Implicated in Cases of Conspiracy against State Security… Tunisian Judiciary Again Refuses to Release Brotherhood Leaders

Nearly a year after being imprisoned, the Tunisian judiciary, on Friday, refused to release Fouzi Kammoun, director of the private office of Ennahda Movement‘s leader Rashid Ghannouchi, and decided to extend his pre-trial detention for an additional four months, over suspicions related to money laundering.

Rashid Ghannouchi, the leader of the Ennahda Movement, appointed Fouzi Kammoun as his office director in 2016, replacing the former director, Zoubir Chehoudi, who resigned from the party after describing Ghannouchi‘s family as “a corrupt and corrupting class.”

A former student leader of the Brotherhood, Kammoun was involved in the student leadership of the group during the 1980s. After the overthrow of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s regime in 2011, Kammoun served as the office director for the former Secretary-General of the Ennahdha Movement, Hamadi Jebali, and was later appointed as a member of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet. He also held the position of Deputy Head of the Preparation Committee for the Tenth Congress of the Ennahdha Movement.

On Thursday, the Tunisian judiciary also rejected, for the second time, the release of 6 detainees from the Brotherhood in the case of conspiracy against state security. Those detained include the former presidential candidate of the Brotherhood, Hayam Al-Turki, and members of the Brotherhood-affiliated “Salvation Front” (Ridha Belhaj, Ghazi Ghazi Chaouachi, Issam Chebbi, Jawhar Ben Mabrouk, Abdelhamid Jelassi), and the businessman Kamel Eltaief.

The events of the case date back to February 14, 2023, when Tunisian authorities arrested leaders of the Brotherhood and their allies, in addition to influential judges and businessmen, for investigation in a case related to conspiracy against state security and planning to overturn the regime.

According to case details revealed last January 27th, the detainees attempted to overthrow the government by inciting social unrest and chaos during the night, exploiting some factions within the presidential palace.

However, Tunisian security forces and intelligence managed to thwart this plan by tracking their calls, communications, and actions, revealing that Hayam Al-Turki, the figure agreed upon by the Brotherhood for succession after President Kais Saied, was the linchpin in the scheme.

Brotherhood leaders met at the residence of Hayam Al-Turki, a political activist and Brotherhood’s candidate for government in 2019, along with the businessman described by sources as a “spy,” Kamel Eltaief, diplomats, and other businessmen, in one of the northern suburbs of the capital.

This case implicates 86 political figures, in addition to businessmen, journalists, and diplomats. Phone calls were intercepted between its members and the presidential palace in Carthage, aiming to overthrow the regime.

According to Tunisian media reports, this group planned to stir up public unrest by raising prices and controlling food supplies. The involvement of the defendants with foreign intelligence agencies to overthrow the government and cancel the 2022 constitution while retaining the Brotherhood‘s constitution issued in 2014 and appointing a new government has been confirmed.

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