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Families of EU political prisoners: sanctions on Tunisian officials Political news

The request follows the April 17 arrest of opposition leader Rached Ghannouchi.

Families of Tunisian political prisoners have asked the European Union to sanction President Keith Saeed and other top Tunisian officials.

The request, filed on behalf of the family by British lawyer Rodney Dixon, accused Tunisian officials of “serious and ongoing human rights violations,” according to a news release from Dixon on Wednesday.

Other senior officials whose families have sought sanctions are former acting interior minister Ridha Gharsallaoui; recently resigned interior minister Taofik Charfeddine; current interior minister Kamal Feki; justice minister Leïla Jaffel; and defense minister Imed Memmich.

“What has happened in Tunisia since July 2021 has been a downward spiral, with increasing violations of fundamental freedoms and rights,” the lawyer said.

“On behalf of our clients, we urge the EU to act quickly and decisively to impose sanctions on the Tunisian authorities who are most responsible,” Dixon said.

The request follows the April 17 arrest of Rached Ghannouchi, a leading opposition figure and leader of the Ennahda movement.

It is part of an ongoing crackdown on Tunisian opposition. In July 2021, Saeed dissolved the elected parliament, of which the Ba’ath Party was the largest, and then began amending the constitution to centralize power in his hands.

The families said that since Saeed’s dictatorship in 2021, his government “has committed massive human rights violations in Tunisia, including persistent arrests, torture and, in some cases, the killing of anyone perceived to oppose them.” people”.

The sanctions requested by the families include banning officials from traveling to the EU, freezing their assets in the bloc and banning them from doing business and opening accounts in the bloc.

“Sayed and his associates must be held accountable by imposing sanctions on them,” said Rached Ghannouchi’s daughter, Yusra Ghannouchi.

“The EU must move beyond timid expressions of concern as they have clearly failed to persuade Saeed to stop or slow down his reckless destruction of Tunisian democracy,” she added.

Several global powers have condemned the arrest of political opponents in Tunisia, including Ganucci, warning against an escalation of the crackdown.

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