Rached Ghannouchi has become one of President Kais Saied’s biggest critics since the leader closed parliament.
Tunisian police detained opposition leader Rachede Gannucci and searched his Ba’ath party headquarters, party officials said.
Police raided Ghannouchi’s home Monday night, conducted a search and then took him to what party officials said was an “unknown destination.” Hours later, they began raiding the Baath Party headquarters.
Tunisian authorities have detained a number of high-profile critics of President Keith Saeed. Elected in 2019 amid public anger at the political class, the former law professor sacked the government and suspended parliament in 2021 before moving to rule by decree and eventually take control of the judiciary.
A senior police officer told Reuters that Ghannouchi had been brought in for questioning and that his home had been searched on orders from prosecutors investigating “seditious remarks”. The next step is up to prosecutors, the official added.
Ghannouchi has faced multiple judicial inquiries over the past year over allegations related to Ennahda’s finances and its drive to leave Tunisians to leave the North African country and join ISIL in the wake of longtime ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. ) and other armed groups were removed from office in 2011.
Ennahda’s vice-president, former prime minister Ali Laarayedh, was detained in December on similar charges.
Ghannouchi and the party deny the allegations.
The 81-year-old was a political prisoner in the 1980s and went into exile in the 1990s before returning during Tunisia’s democratic revolution.
Under his leadership, the Baath Party moved towards the political center, joining successive ruling coalitions with secular parties.
He became speaker of parliament after the 2019 general election.
Ghannouchi has become President Saied’s biggest critic since he took power, saying it was necessary to save Tunisia from years of crisis.