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Tunisia ex-speaker in court again over alleged jihadist links

— Tunis (AFP)

The speaker of Tunisia's dissolved parliament appeared on Monday before a judge investigating accusations his party helped Tunisian jihadists travel to fight in Iraq and Syria.

Rached Ghannouchi, an arch-rival of President Kais Saied and also head of the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party, arrived in the morning at the anti-terror court in a suburb of the capital Tunis, said one of his lawyers, Mokhtar Jemai.

At the end of the hearing, the judge is expected to decide whether or not to charge the 81-year-old.

Several other Ennahdha officials have been questioned on the "shipment of jihadists" case since Saied sacked the Ennahdha-supported government and seized full executive authority in July 2021.

After Tunisia's 2011 revolt which toppled dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and sparked the Arab Spring, thousands of Tunisians joined jihadist groups in neighbouring Libya as well as the Islamic State group in its strongholds in Iraq and Syria.

Rivals of Ennahdha, which dominated Tunisian politics from 2011 until Saied's power grab, accuse the party of helping them leave.

The party has repeatedly rejected those accusations as "fabricated" and says authorities are trying to distract public attention from "economic and social concerns and the deterioration of people's living conditions".

Ghannouchi also appeared before a judge on November 10 as part of a case involving money-laundering and "incitement to violence".

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