The Tunisian government appears to be renewing its efforts to ban the radical Islamist party, Hizb ut’ Tahrir.
Speaking to Tunisia Live earlier today, the spokesperson of the Court of the First Instance, Sofiene Selliti confirmed that the case of the highly conservative political party, Hizb ut’ Tahrir has been transferred to the Court of the First Instance for further investigation following alleged threats to “behead and cut off the hands of the government” made in a press release of August 30th by the controversial Islamist party.
Selliti also stated that the Minister of Justice authorized the Attorney General at the Court of Appeal in Tunis to open an investigation according to Chapter 23 of the Penal Code. He stated that “any reference to the involvement of the Military Court, (as has been widely reported elsewhere) is purely rumor”.
During a meeting held on the 1st of September, President Beji Caied Essebsi referred to Hizb ut Tahrir’s threats saying “they’re insulting the state.” He went on to say that “we should take this seriously and find a prompt solution.” The former Head of Government, Habib Essid had previously pushed for the disbanding of the party after the Sousse Attack of June 2015. However, at that time the Court of First Instance in Tunis rejected the application for the suspension of the party’s activities on procedural grounds. However, on August 15th of this year TAP reported that the Court of First Instance in Tunis had suspended the activities of Hizb ut-Tahrir for one month.
The alleged violent threats made by Hizb ut Tahrir’s press release follow their allegations of police harassment. The party alleged that the police removed the iron rail installed on the roof of their building making them unable to hang a sign featuring the party’s emblem.
Hizb ut’ Tahrir are an international political party present in 28 countries. They espouse a radical Islamist manifesto, including the creation of an Islamic Caliphate through peaceful means. They were licensed in 2012 as a legitimate political party having previously been banned by the former Dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Zaineb is a journalist in the Tunisia Live newsroom. She speaks Arabic, French and English.