Abir Moussi, the leader of Tunisia’s Parti Destourien Libre (PDL), a major opposition party, found herself under arrest on Tuesday, according to her party’s legal representative. Her arrest transpired outside the presidential palace in Carthage, where she had arrived to submit appeals against presidential decrees.
Moussi took to PDL’s Facebook page via video to convey her experience, stating that the President’s office had refused to accept her appeal or provide her with an acknowledgment of receipt. Naoufel Bouden, the attorney for PDL, stated that the specific reasons for Moussi’s apprehension remain undisclosed, with more information expected to surface in the coming days.
Members of the PDL were quick to denounce Moussi’s arrest, labeling it a “kidnapping” in statements provided to the Tunisian media. A former Member of Parliament, Moussi is a vehement critic of President Kais Said and the Ennahdha Islamists. Notably, she supports the late President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was deposed during the initial Arab Spring uprising in 2011.
Accusations from the left in Tunisia assert that Moussi is endeavoring to reestablish a new form of dictatorship in the country. President Said’s administration has taken a heavy-handed approach toward the opposition, resulting in the imprisonment of several prominent opposition figures since February, including the leader of the Islamo-conservative Ennahdha party, Rached Ghannouchi.
This crackdown on the opposition has prompted widespread condemnation, with international organizations earlier this year expressing concerns about Tunisia’s drift towards authoritarianism.