Tunisia -

The judicial decision related to freezing the bank accounts of the leader of the Tunisian Ennahda movement, Rached Ghannouchi, and a number of the movement’s leaders raised questions about whether this measure aims to tighten the screws on political Islam in the country, or is it just a ploy to co-opt the secular side to support the draft constitution of President Kais Saied in referendum.

The Financial Analysis Committee of the Central Bank of Tunisia announced, on Tuesday, the freezing of bank accounts of the leader of the Ennahda movement, the dissolved parliament speaker, Rached Ghannouchi, and 9 other people, including his son Moaz Ghannouchi, his son-in-law, former Foreign Minister Rafik Abdel Salam and former Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali.

The committee explained that the decision was issued following a request by the first investigative judge at the Anti-Terrorism Judicial Pole at the Court of First Instance in Tunis.

In addition, the judiciary issued a decision to interrogate Rashid Ghannouchi on July 19, in what is known as the "Namaa Tounes" charity case.

Ghannouchi will be questioned on suspicion of money laundering in the case of the association, which the authorities accuse of laundering money and receiving it from foreign parties.

While the Ennahda movement says that the charges are fabricated to liquidate political opponents and intimidate people from the failure of the referendum on a new constitution drafted by President Kais Saied.


Hitting political opponents

The leader of the Ennahda movement, Imad Khamiri, rules out that this measure has anything to do with targeting political Islam or the identity or religious reference of the Islamic Renaissance Movement, stressing that the target are "the political opponents of Qais Saied who oppose his coup project against the constitution, the democratic system and the gains of the revolution."

Al-Khamiri confirms to Al-Jazeera Net that President Saeed is about to use the state's judicial and security agencies to take revenge on his political opponents, noting that "he is trying through his revenge actions to delude public opinion at home and abroad that the leader of the Ennahda movement or its leaders are involved in money laundering and other cases."

Khamiri saw these charges as an attempt to demonize the Ennahda movement, denying any connection between its leader or leaders with allegations of money laundering or involvement in terrorist files.

"We challenge them to reveal them to the public opinion if they have serious files proving the involvement of the movement or its leaders," he said.

He added, "Contrary to what some people imagine, there is no money in Rashed Ghannouchi's bank accounts in the billions. He is part of the people and lives what the average public lives."

President Kais Saied mediates former Prime Minister Hisham al-Mashishi (right) and Parliament Speaker Rashid Ghannouchi (communication sites)

The decision reflects the emancipation of the judiciary

On the other hand, the leader of the Popular Current Party, Jamal Mars, says that the judicial decision related to freezing the bank accounts of the leader of the Ennahda movement does not aim to tighten the screws on political Islam, but rather seeks to stir up cases related to crimes committed during the past decade that remained without accountability.

Mars added to Al Jazeera Net, that the judiciary during the rule of the Ennahda movement was prohibited from playing its role in all impartiality and independence in moving cases and charges related to whether suspected of money laundering or political assassinations, especially those brought by the defense team of the assassinated leftist leaders Shukri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi.

The leader of the Popular Movement believes that the path that President Saeed is taking in moving files and cases is "correct and sound", considering that the judicial procedures related to freezing the assets of Ghannouchi and leaders of his party, prosecuting some of them and banning them from travel, is evidence of the political will for accountability and the liberation of the judiciary from the pressures of the Ennahda movement.

"Today, the judiciary has become more liberalized by some reforms, such as dissolving the Supreme Judicial Council with its previous composition because it did not operate independently and was subject to pressure from the Ennahda movement," he said.

Despite his reservations about dismissing 57 judges because they were denied the right to defense until after final rulings are issued, Mars believes that this procedure is effective.

He confirms that there are judges on the list of the dismissed persons accused of obstructing the judicial process and covering up serious terrorist cases, noting that the path of accountability after the exceptional measures - taken by Qais Saeed on July 25, which suspended the work of Parliament and dismissed the government - was "delayed due to the judiciary's failure to bear it." full turn."

Message in support of the President's project

For his part, political analyst Salah El-Din El-Jourchi believes that the judicial decision to freeze the bank accounts of Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi and a number of the movement's leaders coincided with the launch of the referendum on the new draft constitution, "suggesting that the president is about to send a message to Tunisians to support his project."

Al-Jorshi told Al-Jazeera Net, "The message addressed to the Tunisians is that if President Said's draft constitution is not passed, the Ennahda movement will return and control their fate again."

Note that the Ennahda movement was facing opposition during its rule from the secular side, who accused it of trying to change the pattern of society.

The decision to freeze the bank accounts of the leader of the Ennahda movement comes in the midst of the referendum campaign on the draft constitution of Kais Saied, which transformed the existing political system from the amended parliamentary system to the presidential one.

The campaign will run from the 3rd of July to the 24th of the same month, before the vote on the draft constitution on the 25th of July.

President Qais Saeed - who has ruled the country for about a year with exceptional presidential decrees - is facing sharp criticism from some parties and organizations that accuse him of "controlling the joints of governance, trying to consolidate his dominance of power by beating his opponents, and trying to pass a draft constitution that establishes individual rule," according to her statements.

Salah al-Din al-Jourshi does not believe that the judicial decision to freeze the bank accounts of Ennahda leader Rashid Ghannouchi and a number of the movement’s leaders will be a fatal blow to political Islam as a complex social and political phenomenon.