Tunisia puts Ennahda official under house arrest

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Tunisia’s interior ministry has put under house arrest a senior official of the Islamist Ennahda party which opposes the president’s seizure of governing powers.

Anouar Maarouf is the most prominent member of the party to be targeted since President Kais Saied dismissed the prime minister and suspended parliament on July 25 in moves Ennahda branded a coup.

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Maarouf was from 2016-20 head of the Ministry of Communications and Technology, a department that Saied has suggested parties tried to manipulate for their own advantage.

“Anouar Maarouf was informed by official authorities that he is under house arrest,” an Ennahda official told Reuters, asking not to be named.

The party said it would appeal the decision.

“It was an arbitrary decision that affects the right of movement, travel and freedom of expression ... we will appeal the decision in the administrative court,” it said in a statement.

The Interior Ministry was not immediately available for comment.

Several politicians and officials have been detained or are under investigation, including on old warrants that were implemented after the president lifted parliamentary immunity.

Saied has moved to gain direct control over the Interior Ministry and Communications and Technology Ministry, replacing the ministers in charge of both.

This week, he said he would not accept future communications and technology ministers being linked to political parties that might want control over citizens’ data.

Ennahda is one of four political parties that the judiciary said last week it was investigating over foreign financing.

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