Tunisian Islamist party says time to ‘bury’ democracy

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Tunisian women, members of the radical Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir, attend a speech at the party headquarters in the Tunis suburb of Ariana. (AFP)
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Tunisian women, members of the radical Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir, attend a speech at the party headquarters in the Tunis suburb of Ariana. (AFP)
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Tunisian women, members of the radical Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir, attend a speech at the party headquarters in the Tunis suburb of Ariana. (AFP)
Updated 16 April 2017
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Tunisian Islamist party says time to ‘bury’ democracy

TUNIS: The Tunisian branch of the radical Islamist Hizb ut-Tahrir movement, which calls for Islamic law and wants to unify Muslims into a caliphate, said Saturday it was time to “bury” democracy.
“Democracy no longer attracts anyone,” the movement’s politburo chief Abderraouf Amri told its annual conference.
“It is time to announce its death and work to bury it.”
Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in several countries and Tunisian authorities regularly accuse it of “disturbing public order.”
Hundreds of party members took part in the congress near Tunis, praising “the caliphate, savior of humanity” and denouncing “persecution” by the democratic system.
It said it was the victim of “attempts to prohibit and hinder” its activities.
Mehdi Ben Gharbia, a minister overseeing relations with civil society, said he had filed a request earlier this month for a one-month suspension of the group’s activities over its “attacks against Tunisia’s republican system.”
Tunisia’s government in September asked a military court to outlaw the movement, created in the 1980s but only legalized in 2012 following the overthrow the previous year of longtime strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Interior Minister Hedi Majdoub has called the group “a party that does not recognize the civilian character of the state.”
Hizb ut-Tahrir’s 2016 Tunisian conference was banned for “security reasons.”
Tunisia has been in a state of emergency since a deadly 2015 jihadist attack against presidential guards.


Another Turkish journalist jailed over Gulen links

Ali Unal was chief writer at the now-defunct Zaman newspaper. (Supplied)
Updated 15 November 2018
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Another Turkish journalist jailed over Gulen links

  • About 250 people were killed in the coup attempt and in the subsequent crackdown, Turkey jailed 77,000 people pending trial

ISTANBUL: A court sentenced Turkish journalist Ali Unal to 19 years in jail on Wednesday on a charge of being a leader in the network accused of carrying out a failed coup in July 2016, the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.
The ruling followed a sustained crackdown in the wake of the coup attempt, but also came amid steps by the government that appear aimed at improving ties with the US and Europe, strained by the sweeping campaign of arrests.
Unal was chief writer at the now-defunct Zaman newspaper, widely seen as the flagship media outlet for the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara says orchestrated the attempted putsch. Gulen denies any involvement.
Speaking by video link from jail to the court in the western province of Usak, Unal denied being a founder or leader of the network and denied involvement in the putsch, Anadolu said.
“I have no link with any terrorist organization,” he said, adding that he had spoken five or six times to Gulen and that he was being tried over his writing.
He was sentenced to 19 years and six months for “leading an armed terrorist group.” Six other Zaman journalists were convicted on similar charges in July.
About 250 people were killed in the coup attempt and in the subsequent crackdown, Turkey jailed 77,000 people pending trial. Authorities also sacked or suspended 150,000 civil servants and military personnel and shut down dozens of media outlets.Illustrating the scale of its actions, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday his ministry had dismissed 23 percent of its career personnel over links to Gulen.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said some journalists helped nurture terrorists with their writing, and that the crackdown is needed to ensure stability in a NATO member bordering Syria, Iraq and Iran. Critics say Erdogan has used the crackdown to muzzle dissent and increase his own power. The European Union, which Turkey aspires to join, has also criticized the crackdown. The verdict came a day after another court threw out the conviction of former Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak, annulling a verdict sentencing her to two years in prison in absentia on charges of carrying out propaganda for Kurdish militants.