Tunisian police re-arrest MP hostile to President Saied

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Tunisian lawmaker Seifeddine Makhlouf, an outspoken critic of President Kais Saied, has been re-arrested, for “undermining the dignity of the army,” his lawyer told AFP on Wednesday.

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Like other MPs, Makhlouf lost his parliamentary immunity when Saied assumed full power on July 25, sacking the prime minister, suspending the assembly and taking control of the prosecution service.

Makhlouf heads Al-Karama, an ultraconservative party allied to the Islamist Ennahdha movement, Saied’s rivals who were previously the strongest party in the legislature.

He was briefly arrested on September 17 on his way to a Tunis military court to appear before an investigating judge.

The MP was already the subject of a warrant issued by military justice on September 2 for a case related to an altercation in March at Tunis airport.

Makhlouf and two other Al-Karama MPs are accused of insulting border police who had prevented a woman from flying.

The latest arrest “is not related to the airport case. It is another judicial file opened against him by the military justice,” said his lawyer Anouar Ouled Ali.

In the latest case, Makhlouf is accused of undermining the army in an exchange with a military official while he was at the military court to support another member of his party, who was being prosecuted in the airport case.

In a statement sent to AFP on Wednesday, the military court of first instance in Tunis said that a judicial enquiry had been opened on Tuesday against Makhlouf, who had “insulted and threatened one of the military judges”.

The lawyer, Ouled Ali, said that “this military prosecution of political opponents is a scandal. What is happening to Seifeddine Makhlouf is the settling of political scores.”

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