Tunisian Americans Welcome the Release of Tunisian MPs Seif Makhlouf and Nidhal Saoudi but Condemn the First Casualty of Kais Saied’s Police Brutality

(Washington, DC, 1/21/2022) – The Tunisian United Network (TUN) welcomes the release of Tunisian parliament deputies Seif Eddine Makhlouf and Nidhal Saoudi, who face serious but selective and arbitrary allegations in a military court, along with other colleagues and their lawyers.
TUN’s leaders also condemn the killing of Ridha Bouziane as a result of excessive police violence and call for those involved in his death to be held accountable. On January 14th, security forces used water cannons, tear gas and police batons against demonstrators in an attempt to disperse the crowds, with a greater ferocity than they have in over a year of protests. Bouziane later died in a hospital as a result of injuries sustained during the police suppression of the protest.
On the same day, TUN hosted a press conference with the participation of several human rights organizations and experts on January 14, 2022 commemorating the 11th anniversary of the 2011 revolution followed by a discussion of events since Kais Saied’s total government seizure of July 25, 2021.
Multiple representatives and family members called for the release of Tunisian citizens facing trumped-up charges in military courts, like MPs Makhlouf and Saoudi, as well as the release of Noureddine El-Bhiri, former Minister of Justice and deputy head of the Ennahdha party. Calling in to the press conference from the waiting area outside of her husband’s hospital room, Saida Akremi, wife of Noureddine El-Bhiri, described her emotional distress after her husband’s kidnapping in December and subsequent unlawful holding at an undisclosed location. Nedia Maklouf, sister of MP Seif Maklouf, denounced these tactics employed by President Saied: “The gang state has started implementing an emergency order that the dictators used before 1978 when the state kidnapped citizens and politicians and hid them where no one knows their whereabouts in the absence of charges or court hearings.”
[WATCH the press conference here.]
TUN’s President Mongi Dhaouadi described how 11 years ago, Tunisians demonstrated against the one-man-rule of Ben Ali and were successful in ridding the country of dictatorship.

“Unfortunately, on July 25th, President Kais Saied took the country in a completely different direction,” Mr. Dhaouadi said. “He betrayed the trust of the Tunisian people, and he negated an oath that he swore to protect the constitution and to uphold the rule of law.”

TUN and its partners call on Kais Saied to re-open parliament and restore constitutional order without delay. It also calls on the president to reign in the police and security services and to end arbitrary and selective prosecutions of his political adversaries and critics of his regime. Further information on TUN’s event and related material can be found here or on TUN’s Facebook page.

Contact: Mongi Dhaouadi, TUN President, Email: [email protected], Phone: 860-514-8038