Tunisian minister sex video draws fierce condemnation

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Al-Akhbar Management

By: Othman Tazghart, Sundus Zarouki

Published Friday, January 20, 2012

Tunisia's political scene unanimously condemned the circulation of a video allegedly showing current Interior Minister Ali al-Arrayed having sex with a prisoner during his detention in the early 1990s.

Tunisia's secret police were accused of releasing the video during the rule of ousted President Zen el-Abidine Ben Ali, while others suspect the involvement of the leftist opposition, which opposes Ennahda.

However, leftist Tunisian activists called on social networks to "not share or promote this shameful video."

The Workers' Communist Party issued a statement denouncing such methods, and demanded that "all comrades" not "participate in spreading the tape, despite our fundamental differences with Ennahda Movement."

The statement also mentioned that this is "one of the fabrications of the secret police that first appeared in the early nineties in the midst of the state's intense campaign to smear Ennahda Movement."

Leader of the Workers' Party, Hamma Hamami, participated in a counter video titled "Ben Ali's Prison Cells: The Slow Death of Political Prisoners" produced by websites close to Ennahda Movement.

The counter video is part of a campaign to highlight the various forms of oppression and extortion that were practiced by the ousted regime against various opposition groups.

It also aims to clarify that Minister al-Arrayed's alleged sex tape "is merely one of those despicable methods and fabrications."

Official governmental spokesperson and Minister of Human Rights, Samir Dilou, issued a statement on radio condemning the video.

"Everybody knows that there were departments within the interior ministry under tyrant Ben Ali's rule that specialized in fabricating such videos," Dilou said, who is also a member of Ennahda.

He added that similar tapes also targeted Sheikh Abdel Fattah Mourou, co-founder of Ennahda.

Abdel Raouf Ayadi, human rights activist and assistant secretary-general of the Congress for the Republic Party (President Moncef Marzouki's party) was also the victim of a similar video.

Observers of the political situation in Tunisia suggest that the circulation of the video was a maneuver organized by the "swamps of corruption" that remain at Tunisian security agencies from the ousted regime.

It is believed that this was a reaction to a recent "purging campaign" that had been initiated against remnants of Ben Ali's regime within the interior ministry.

The release of the sex tape coincided with unconfirmed reports of General Moncif al-Ajimi's arrest at Tunis' international airport.

Al-Ajimi was dismissed last week as leader of the "intervention force," referring to riot police.

The general was banned from leaving the country under an arrest warrant, while awaiting his prosecution for charges of corruption and killing of civilians during the Tunisian revolution.

The sex video appears to have backfired on the objectives of those behind its circulation, with Tunisia's political rivals uniting in condemning its release.

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