Calling the arrest of octogenarian Tunisian politician Rached Ghannouchi “unacceptable,” Malaysian lawmakers Wednesday demanded his immediate release from prison and his reinstatement as parliament speaker.
“We are very concerned about the incarceration of Mr Rached Ghannouchi who was arrested during his tenure as speaker of the Tunisian Assembly of People’s Representatives,” said Wong Chen, chair of the Malaysian Parliamentary Committee on International Relations and International Trade.
“We are appalled by this incident,” Wong said of Ghannouchi’s arrest.
A court in Tunisia sentenced Ghannouchi, one of the main opponents of President Kais Saied, to one year in prison on May 15 on terrorism-related charges after he was arrested on April 17 on accusations of plotting against state security.
Wong was speaking to reporters after hosting Tunisian guests who briefed the Malaysian lawmakers on the matter. The news conference was streamed live.
“As parliamentarians, we are of the view that such an arrest is unacceptable and represents an affront to the highest institution of democracy,” said Wong, adding the parliamentary committee will hold a special briefing on the issue.
Wong said the Malaysian lawmakers urged the Tunisian government to immediately release Rached Ghannouchi on the grounds of health, age, and justice.
“We further urge for his reinstatement as the speaker of the Tunisian Assembly of People’s Representatives,” he added.
He stressed: “We believe Malaysia’s diplomatic stance must re-emphasize our concerns on the state of human rights and democracy in Tunisia and ask that free and fair elections take place as soon as possible.”
Source : AA