Tue. Oct 19th, 2021

Opposition lawmaker Seif Eddine Makhlouf was arrested by officials in plain clothes while trying to attend a court hearing against himself.

Seif Eddine Makhlouf, an opposition member of Tunisia’s parliament, was briefly detained when he tried to attend a court hearing against himself in the capital, his lawyer said.

Makhlouf, leader of the conservative Karama party and a regular critic in parliament of President Kais Saied, who seized extra powers in July, was arrested by clothing agents when he tried to enter the military court in Tunis on Friday, she said. lawyer Anouar Awled told news agencies.

The agents took Makhlouf away in a car, a video that Awled posted online.

The lawyer told the AFP news agency that “as soon as he arrived at the court, police officers ran to Seif Eddine, forced him to the ground and beat him and then forced him into a civilian vehicle”.

The judge who heard his case in the military court later ordered his release and said he should appear in court on September 27, his lawyer said, without saying why he was detained.

The military court has sued Makhlouf for allegedly insulting security personnel at the airport months ago, Awled said.

Legal groups have demanded the release of another member of parliament, Yassin Ayari, and have criticized the use of military courts to try civilians. They also expressed concern about travel bans for people wanted on a variety of charges.

Shortly before his arrest, Makhlouf posted a video in which he says that he went to court with his lawyers.

“We are not afraid of the military court, but we reject state capture that uses military justice to solve scores against opponents,” he said.

President Saied lifted the immunity of MPs and opened them to a variety of prosecutions [File: Zoubeir Souissi/Reuters]

Saied fired the government on July 25, suspended parliament, removed legislators’ immunity and made himself head of the prosecution.

The president rejected the accusations of a coup and promised to uphold rights, arguing that his intervention was necessary to save the country from corruption and political paralysis.

On Friday, he said no one is prevented from traveling unless it is subject to an existing case.

While his power attack and freezing of parliament appear to be popular in general, opposition among major political players has grown since one of his advisers told Reuters news agency last week that Saied was planning to suspend the constitution.

A powerful trade union and several major political parties have since said that any changes to the constitution should be implemented in a constitutional manner.

Civil society activists called for a first protest march against Saied on Saturday, a test of how the security services plan to deal with direct public opposition to the president’s actions.

Saied lifted the immunity for MPs, leaving them open to a variety of prosecutions, and several have since been detained or investigated.

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