New Maneuver to Revive His Name… Leader of the Tunisian Brotherhood Enters Hunger Strike from Inside His Prison

In a new attempt to bring his name back into circulation after all opinion polls confirmed that he is among the “least popular” figures in Tunisia, the Islamist Ennahdha Movement announced that its leader, Rached Ghannouchi, has entered a hunger strike at the Mornaguia prison starting yesterday, Monday.

According to the movement’s statement, Ghannouchi‘s hunger strike comes in solidarity with six members of the “Salvation Front” loyal to the Brotherhood, who have been on a hunger strike since last Monday, demanding their release in a case of plotting against state security revealed by Tunisian authorities in mid-February, in which Ghannouchi is involved. The six prisoners on hunger strike are Jawhar Ben Mbarek, Issam Chebbi, Abdelhamid Jlassi, Ghazi Shousha, Khayyam Turki, and Ridha Belhaj.

Ghannouchi, who has been in prison since April 19th last year, faces ten charges including plotting against state security, espionage, political assassinations, the Brotherhood’s secret apparatus, sending terrorists to conflict zones, and money laundering.

Observers of the Tunisian political scene believe that Ghannouchi thought his prison term would not last long, and that pressure would be exerted by some allied countries and by the Tunisian people on the Tunisian authorities to release him, but everyone abandoned him.

It is worth mentioning that in May last year, a judicial ruling was issued to imprison Ghannouchi for one year on charges of inciting against security forces, before an appeals court in October increased his prison sentence in the case to 15 months.

Also, a Tunisian court earlier this month sentenced Ghannouchi and his son-in-law, former Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem, to three years in prison in a case related to accepting financial donations from a foreign entity.

With his chairmanship of the Tunisian Parliament in May 2021, Ghannouchi topped the total confidence deficit index among Tunisians, according to a survey by the “Sigma Conseil” foundation, with 77% of Tunisians expressing absolute lack of confidence in the Ennahdha leader, according to the survey results published at the time.

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