Tunisian authorities on Saturday briefly arrested lawmaker Maher Zaid in connection with a criminal charge, days after the country's president sacked the government and suspended parliament.
"Maher Zaid was arrested in the Sidi Hussein area, west of the capital, Tunis, in connection with a case that has been settled since 2018," Inas Harath, the MP’s lawyer, posted on her Facebook account. Zaid was released hours later.
Lotfi Brahem, the former minister of interior, had filed a lawsuit against Maher in February 2018 accusing him of "defamation and spreading false information."
In May 2018, he was sentenced in absentia to two years in prison for insulting late President Beji Caid Essebsi. The ruling, however, was reversed the next day after an appeal.
Under the recent exceptional presidential decisions, MPs no longer have parliamentary immunity that protects them from being arrested.
Tunisia is seen as the only country that succeeded in carrying out a democratic transition following the popular Arab Spring uprisings. But it failed in achieving economic and political stability, and the recent spike in coronavirus cases fueled further public frustration./aa