Tunisia issued an international arrest warrant for former president Moncef Marzouki on Thursday over accusations that he had undermined the North African country’s security.

Tunisia issued an international warrant to summon Paris-based former president Moncef Marzouki.
Tunisia issued an international warrant to summon Paris-based former president Moncef Marzouki. (Reuters)

Tunisian human rights defenders and activists have demanded the withdrawal of an international arrest warrant for former President Moncef Marzouki.

“The arrest warrant for Marzouki is an arbitrary measure that comes in the context of the treasonous rhetoric carried out by President Kais Saied and defaming the opposition,” activists said in a petition on Saturday that condemned the warrant.

"This is a policy that Saied has followed since July 25 to silence anyone who opposes his monopoly in power," it added.

The petition demanded the cancelation and withdrawal of the warrant, “which offends the Tunisian judiciary.”

A Tunisian court issued an international arrest warrant against Marzouki on November 4 over accusations he had allegedly compromised Tunisia's security.

In October, Saied ordered the justice ministry to open an inquiry into 76-year-old Marzouki, days after the ex-leader urged France not to support Saied's "dictatorial regime".

READ MORE: Tunisia gets new govt weeks after President Saied sacked PM

Polarised Politics

Marzouki, who was president from 2011 to 2014, accused Saied of dividing the Tunisian people.

Saied has faced mounting criticism abroad since he assumed executive authority in July, then circumvented much of the constitution to seize near total power in moves Marzouki and other political critics have described as coup.

Saied unveiled a new government in October and promised a national "dialogue", but has yet to lay out a detailed plan to restore normal constitutional order as donors demand.

President Saied's tenure has undermined the democratic gains of Tunisia's 2011 revolution, which ended autocratic rule and triggered the Arab Spring, in spite of his vocal pledges to uphold the freedoms won a decade ago.

A new Cabinet was unveiled last month, two weeks after Najla Bouden was appointed the country’s first female prime minister.

Tunisia is considered the only Middle Eastern country that has succeeded in carrying out a democratic transition after the popular Arab Spring uprisings in 2011.

READ MORE: Why is anti-Saied sentiment on the rise in Tunisia?

Source: TRTWorld and agencies