Tunisian judge freezes bank accounts of former parliament speaker, ex-PM

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A Tunisian judge has ordered a freeze on the financial assets of the former speaker of the country’s dissolved parliament, Rached Ghannouchi, former prime minister Hamadi Jebali and several other people, an official told Reuters on Tuesday.

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He added that the list of people included Ghannouchi’s son Moadh Ghannouchi and son-in-law Rafik Abdessalem, who was a former foreign minister.

“There is an order from the anti-terrorism judge to freeze the bank accounts of those people, the Financial Analysis Committee asked the banks to implement the judicial decision,” said an official on the financial analysis committee, which is headed by central bank governor.

No further details about the case were known and Rached and Moadh Ghannouchi and Jebali could not immediately be reached for comment.

In May, a Tunisian judge issued a travel ban against several people including Ghannouchi, the head of the Islamist Ennahda Party and former speaker of dissolved parliament.

Ghannouchi, 81, is a fierce critic of President Kais Saied who seized executive powers last year, sacked the government, dissolved the parliament and started ruling by decree, moves critics describe as a coup.

Saied’s efforts have stoked fears of a return to autocracy in Tunisia, where the first uprisings of the so-called Arab Spring began in 2011 and heralded a series of democratic reforms.

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