Tunisian security forces arrested the leader of the main opposition party Monday night and shuttered its headquarters, escalating a crackdown on the president’s critics in this formerly authoritarian North African country, which is veering again toward one-man rule.
About 100 plainclothes police officers raided the home of Rachid Ghannouchi, the 81-year-old head of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, on Monday evening, as he was sitting down with family to break the Ramadan fast, his daughter Yusra Ghannouchi said in an interview.
The officers spent two hours combing the house, rifling through papers and old suitcases before they whisked Ghannouchi away without saying where they were taking him or why he was being detained, she said.
His lawyers have since learned Ghannouchi is being held at a military facility in Tunis, the capital, apparently on terrorism charges.
The arrest of Ghannouchi, a prominent and polarizing figure in Tunisian politics for half a century, is a major step, even amid a wave of arrests targeting President Kais Saied’s opponents in recent months. [Continue reading…]