Noureddine Bhiri, strongman of the Tunisian Islamist party Ennahdha, was transferred Sunday in a serious condition to the hospital in Bizerte, two days after his arrest, according to activists of his movement and MPs.
The former Tunisian Minister of Justice Noureddine Bhiri, strongman of the Islamist party Ennahdha, was transferred Sunday, January 2 in a serious condition to the hospital of Bizerte (north-west) two days after his arrest, according to activists and MPs.
Noureddine Bhiri « is in critical condition, he is in intensive care at the hospital Bougatfa in Bizerte, » said AFP lawyer and MP Samir Dilou, resigned Ennahdha.
After more than two days of silence, Rached Ghannouchi, leader of Ennahdha and of whom Noureddine Bhiri is considered close, released on Sunday evening a letter he addressed to the president Kaïs Saïed by imputing to him « the responsibility of revealing his condition, to reassure his family and the public opinion ».
He stressed that after the information on « the deterioration of the state of health » of Noureddine Bhiri, President Said should « authorize a medical team and his lawyers to visit him and release him immediately.
Ennahdha is at the heart of a tug of war with President Kaïs Saïed since his July 25 coup and his decision to suspend the parliament that the party controlled for a decade.
« Noureddine Bhiri has just been transferred to the hospital in Bizerte after the worsening of his health following his arrest and detention for 48 hours, » explained on his Twitter account the MP and former Secretary of State, Saida Ounissi.
She added that Noureddine Bhiri had been held so far « in an undisclosed location, without any arrest warrant, indictment or judicial authorization.
At a press conference in Tunis, Mondher Ounissi, a doctor and member of the executive board of Ennahdha, said that Noureddine Bhiri suffered from several chronic diseases, including diabetes and hypertension, and usually took « 16 pills a day.
He was « deprived of his medication » and « his life is threatened », he said, calling on « the Red Crescent and international organizations to intervene » in the face of « inhuman practices ».
In a statement to AFP, Said Ferjani, a member of the leadership of Ennahdha and close to Noureddine Bhiri, denounced « a truly dangerous situation for Tunisia and the region » when we see « a former minister treated in this way. He stressed that his condition was « really critical after three days without eating or drinking, and without taking his medication.
The Instance for the Prevention of Torture (INPT, an independent Tunisian authority) and the Ennahdha party had expressed concern on Saturday about the fate of Noureddine Bhiri and another Ennahdha leader, Fathi Baldi, who was arrested along with him on Friday morning.
The INPT and the defense committee of Noureddine Bhiri, formed by his lawyer wife and other lawyers, denounced the secrecy around the place of their detention and the lack of explanations from the Ministry of Interior that ordered the two arrests.
The ministry had limited itself on Friday evening to announcing two house arrests, without giving names, stating that it was a « preventive measure (which) was dictated by the need to preserve national security.
On Friday, the defense committee of Noureddine Bhiri had described his arrest in front of his home by plainclothes agents as « kidnapping and (a) dangerous precedent that marks the entry of the country into the tunnel of dictatorship.