The European Commission has been asked to sanction the Tunisian president and several senior ministers in his government amid growing fears of a breakdown in democratic and political freedoms in the North African country.
In a press conference, Wednesday, the families of imprisoned opposition leaders in Tunisia called on the European Union to impose sanctions on President Kais Saied. They noted the continued detention, torture and, in some cases, killings of perceived members of the opposition.
They also called for sanctions by the European Union against Interior Minister Kamal al-Faqi and two of his predecessors, Justice Minister Leila Javel and Defense Minister Imad Mameesh.
d said Yousra Ghannouchi, daughter of Rashid Ghannouchi, leader of the Islamist Ennahda Party.
Last week, the European Commission expressed its “extreme concern” after the arrest and detention of Ghannouchi, whose party’s headquarters have since been closed.
In recent months, dozens of prominent activists, politicians and trade unionists have been arrested, detained without charge or charged with treason or endangering national security.
Rodney Dixon KS added: , the lawyer representing the families, that what has been happening in Tunisia since July 2021 is an “escalating decline towards escalating violations of fundamental freedoms and rights.”
“Based on the evidence, this is exactly the pattern of violations that the EU human rights sanctions regime is designed to remedy.”
The European Union’s Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime was created in 2020 to target perpetrators of gross human rights abuses and abuses around the world, no matter where they were committed. Sanctions may include travel bans and asset freezes.
The families have also called on the UK government to impose sanctions under the UK’s Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations.
President Saied, elected in 2019, assumed most power in 2021, abolishing the elected parliament and replacing the government before ruling by decree and rewriting the constitution.
In January, a new parliament was elected with a turnout of 10 percent, which exercises much weaker control over the government and has no legislative powers.
However, the European Union has provided financial support to Saied’s government since the beginning of the political crisis and appears ready to step up its aid to prop up the Tunisian economy and fund an agreement to control migration.
The internal memo stated that the European Commission is preparing a major macro-financial assistance package and is examining options for further budgetary support for Tunisia.
The note states that the €1.9 billion financial aid package that the EU could send to Tunisia “is dependent on Tunisia’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund.”
In recent weeks, Saied appeared to have resisted the bailout, saying he would oppose any “external dictates” from the International Monetary Fund.
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