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Another Tunisian opposition leader, Moussi begins hunger strike in prison

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Another Tunisian opposition leader, Abir Moussi has begun a hunger strike in prison to protest what her lawyers described as a violation of her rights to freedom and political activity.

Moussi, who is a prominent opponent of Tunisian President, Kais Saied, was last month sentenced after police arrested her at the presidential palace entrance on suspicion of assault intended to cause chaos, viewed as part of a crackdown on opposition politicians by some watchers.

In a statement, her party, the Free Constitutional Party (PDL), cautioned against “attempts to fabricate legal obstacles to remove her from participating in the presidential elections” that are anticipated to take place the following year.

In a statement, her attorneys said that Moussi would go on a 16-day hunger strike to draw attention to the issue of violence against women in Tunisia. She is an advocate of the late president Zine El Abidine ben Ali, whose overthrow in 2011 was brought about by widespread demonstrations; an uprising subsequently extended throughout the Middle East, dubbed “the Arab Spring”.

In a similar move in September, embattled Tunisian opposition leader, Rached Ghannouchi, who has been a political prisoner since April, also threatened to begin a hunger strike in captivity.

Moussi faces charges of plotting against state security alongside other opposition figures who are in jail. She had accused Saied of staging a coup in order to close the elected parliament and impose rule by decree.

President Saied has been accused of suppressing dissenting voices in the nation since taking office. This year, the police has detained over 20 political figures, including Ghannouchi, on suspicion of trying to compromise national security.

More than 20 prominent politicians have been detained by police this year; some are a accused of being involved in plots against state security. “Terrorists, traitors, and criminals” is how Saied has characterised the people under arrest.

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Chadian military leader Idriss Deby announces plan to run for president

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Days after opposition politician, Yaya Dillo, was shot and killed in the capital N’Djamena, Chad’s interim president, Mahamat Idriss Deby, said on Saturday he planned to run in this year’s long-awaited presidential race.

 

In a speech that avoided mentioning Dillo’s murder or his uncle’s arrest, Deby declared his candidature for the May–June election while addressing supporters and state officials.

 

“It is … with a mixture of honour, humility, responsibility and gratitude that I accept this nomination,” he said.

 

Divisions within the political class have been further revealed by Dillo’s death under dubious circumstances, at a politically sensitive moment for the

country as it gets ready for the anticipated return to democratic rule through elections.

 

The government of Chad claims that Dillo was slain in a gunfight with security personnel and charges that members of his party also attacked the internal

 

The European Union’s diplomatic service expressed its deep concern over the recent violence in N’Djamena on Saturday as well, calling for the facts and those responsible to be established in “a credible and independent way”.

 

“These events undermine the efforts needed to ensure a transparent, pluralist, inclusive and peaceful transition,” it said in a statement.

 

Chad is one Central and West African countries under military reigns as pressure continues from local and international stake holders for transition into democratic reign.

 

After his father, who had ruled for a long time, was killed in rebel clashes in 2021, Deby first pledged an 18-month switch to elections. However, later resolutions passed by his government permitted him to run for president and moved elections to 2024.

 

Around 50 civilians were killed when security forces violently put an end to protests that were sparked by the election delay.

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Nigerian govt, bar association begin prosecution of electoral offenders 

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The Nigerian government, in collaboration with the Nigerian Bar Association, has commenced legal proceedings against a number of electoral body—INEC— employees and political party officials who have been charged with various electoral offences related to the general elections of 2023.

 

Following the presidential and National Assembly elections on February 25, 2023, Usman Baba, the immediate past Inspector-General of Police, stated that more than 700 individuals had been arrested by the Nigeria Police for breaking electoral laws.

 

On May 2, 2023, INEC announced that it would prosecute 215 of the 774 people the NPF had detained for a variety of electoral offences during the polls. 196 of the 215 case files that the commission was given involved electoral offences, and the NBA and INEC are handling those cases.

 

Election offences take many forms in Nigeria, including vote buying, thuggery, and rigging, and they frequently end in violence. From the colonial era through the first republic in 1960 until 1999, when Nigerians began to witness an aborted democratic journey in her electoral history, these offences had remained an albatross in the country’s electoral journeys.

 

Habeeb Lawal, the National Publicity Secretary of the NBA, informed our correspondent on Friday that 196 suspects, including INEC officials and political party members, were facing charges related to a variety of electoral offences, including vote-buying, possession of weapons, and other offences during the 2023 election.

 

Lawal mentioned that the Federal Capital Territory, state supreme courts, and magistrate courts were all used for the prosecution.

 

“The offences range from dereliction of duty, criminal conspiracy and disorderly conduct at election venues, unlawful possession of arms on election day, snatching and destroying of INEC materials, electoral malpractices, unlawful possession of election materials, voter inducement and vote-buying, malicious damage and assault, and electoral violence.

 

“Some of the suspects are INEC officials, while others are political party members and people without determinable political affiliations.

 

“The magistrates’ courts and the high courts of the states and the FCT have jurisdiction over electoral offences by virtue of the Electoral Act.

 

“Therefore, the offences are being prosecuted by our members in these different courts all over the country, as there is hardly anyone state of the federation that the prosecution is not ongoing.”

 

The commission through the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi declared that it would not support inappropriate behaviour and that those who engage in it in the future would be held responsible.

 

Oyekanmi said, “By engaging in the commendable collaboration with the Nigerian Bar Association to jointly prosecute electoral offenders, the Independent National Electoral Commission is reinforcing its resolve not to condone bad behaviour.

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