The situation in Tunisia is deteriorating rapidly and the arrests of Rached Ghannouchi and Said Ferjani have alarming implications for democracies around the world. On the 17th of April, former Speaker of Parliament, co-founder of the Ennahda Party and main opposition leader Rached Ghannouchi’s home was raided, and he was arrested. Said Ferjani, who was an Ennahda MP before parliament was dissolved by President Kais Saied in 2021, was also arrested on the 27th of February 2023.  

In response to an urgent request from Rached Ghannouchi’s family to hold a meeting, on the 18th of May Forward Thinking facilitated a discussion in parliament, hosted by Crispin Blunt MP.    

Soumaya Ghannoushi, the daughter of Rached Ghannouchi; Seifeddine Ferjani, the son of Said Ferjani; Dr Anas Altikriti, CEO and founder of the Cordoba Foundation; and Rodney Dixon KC, a barrister representing detained Tunisian opposition leaders, shared their insights. They shared that people in Tunisia have the strength to resist President Saied’s action. However, they requested that parliamentarians recognise the erosion of democracy in Tunisia that has been led by the unlawful actions of President Saied and urgently impose sanctions on Tunisian officials responsible for the deteriorating situation in Tunisia.   

Great sadness was expressed at the current state of Tunisia’s once fruitful democracy that had been achieved through the Arab Spring. It was emphasised that, despite the devastating situation that is currently unfolding, opposition figures continue to provide hope for a democratic and prosperous future for Tunisia.