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News Website Head Arrested in Tunisia

FILE - A man places a copy of the Tunisian constitution atop a Tunisian national flag during a demonstration called for by Tunisia's Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party against President Kais Saied's recent decrees, in the capital Tunis, Feb. 13, 2022.

The head of a news website close to Tunisia's Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party has been arrested over alleged links to a company accused of conspiring against the state, his lawyer said Friday.

Lotfi Hidouri, editor-in-chief of Achahed, was placed in custody on Thursday over financial dealings between a firm which finances his site and Instalingo, a digital content provider, Samir Ben Amor told AFP.

Local media say Instalingo, which has been under investigation since 2021, stands accused of "plotting against the security of the state" and inciting violence.

Ennahdha was the leading force in Tunisia's parliament which was dissolved last July in a power grab by President Kais Saied.

The lawyer said Hidouri had "no administrative authority" over the website that could justify his detention, which he condemned as "yet another crime" in the wake of Saied's power grab.

A Tunisian military court on June 11 placed another journalist critical of Saied in custody after he made comments about the army during a television broadcast.

The national journalists' union, the SNJT, has condemned authorities' attempts to "tame" media outlets and turn them into propaganda channels.