Tunisian opposition figure Moussi begins hunger strike in prison

President of Tunisia's Free Destourian Party Abir Moussi speaks to the media during a protest demanding the dissolution of parliament and asking for early legislative elections, in Tunis, Tunisia November 20, 2021. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi/File Photo
President of Tunisia’s Free Destourian Party Abir Moussi

Abir Moussi, a vocal opponent of Tunisian President Kais Saied, embarked on a hunger strike in prison to protest what her attorneys described as a breach of her rights to freedom and political participation. Moussi will continue her hunger strike until she is released.

Following the arrest of Moussi by the police at the entrance to the presidential palace on suspicion of assault with the intent to provoke a disturbance, a judge issued an order for her detention one month ago. This action was taken as part of a crackdown on opposition lawmakers.

Moussi is the head of the Free Constitutional Party (PDL), which issued a statement in which it cautioned against “attempts to fabricate legal obstacles to remove her from participating in the presidential elections” anticipated to occur in the following year.

As part of a campaign to bring attention to the issue of violence against women in Tunisia, Moussi’s legal team announced in a statement that she would be participating in a hunger strike for sixteen days.

This year, the police have detained more than twenty well-known political figures, some of whom are facing charges of plotting to undermine state security.

“Terrorists, traitors, and criminals” is how Saied has referred to individuals who are now being held.

Saied, a retired law professor elected president in 2019, shut down the elected parliament in 2021 and proceeded to govern by decree. These steps, which his opponents termed a coup and which he disputes, were taken by Saied.

Over the past few months, the PDL has organized demonstrations against Saied. Moussi asserts that Saied has made decisions that disobey the law.

Moussi is a fan of the late President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was overthrown by widespread demonstrations in 2011. This revolt eventually extended throughout the Middle East and became known as “the Arab Spring.” Moussi is a supporter of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

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