Tunis/Tunisia — The Tunisian Customs confirmed that Hafedh Caid Essebsi was subjected to a "search operation" at Tunis-Carthage International Airport on Friday based on intelligence that he was illegally bringing in large amounts of foreign currency that he intends to use for suspected purposes.
The General Directorate of Customs said the search operation of Hafedh Caid Essebsi, the head of the Central Committee and the legal representative of Nidaa Tounes Party, is considered routine in such cases and where the requirements of confidentiality and respect for the inviolability of the traveler and all his rights were observed. It was also conducted under the continuous supervision of the officer in charge of the passenger inspection service.
At the end of the search operation, the traveler, who arrived in Tunis from Qatar left "under normal circumstances."
On the other hand, the Customs expressed the astonishment of its Directorate General at what it considered "an attempt by some parties to take this process out of its framework, and called to shield it from all tensions."
In a post on his official Facebook page, Hafedh Caid Essebsi said upon his return to Tunisia, the airport security forces and the customs office "harassed him and deliberately subjected him to special inspection procedures," pointing out that he was subjected to improper treatment, where the most basic fundamentals of human rights were not respected and ethical and humane treatment were violated."
For its part, Nidaa Tounes issued a statement denouncing the "abuses and irresponsible practices faced by Hafedh Caid Essebsi from the inspection team at the Tunis-Carthage International Airport."
The party considered that the attack on the head of the party's central committee goes beyond his person to all the activists of the movement and is part of their demoralization to weaken the party's chances in the upcoming elections.