By Yosra Ounas
TUNIS, Tunisia (AA) - The Ennahda party in Tunisia demanded Wednesday that authorities release deputy chief Noureddine El-Beheiry from house arrest because his health has seriously worsened.
El-Beheiry, 63, staged a hunger strike following his Dec. 31 arrest that caused his health to deteriorate, forcing him to be taken to hospital on Jan. 2.
The party held authorities fully responsible for El-Beheiry's life who is "compulsorily detained," it said.
"The existing authority is intransigent and rejects to comply with the requirements of the law and release him as his health condition reached a stage of extreme danger and is nearly to die," according to a statement from the party.
Ennahda urged local and international rights groups to pressure authorities "to save El-Beheiry's life before it's too late."
UN Human Rights Office spokeswoman Liz Throssell raised concerns about El-Beheiry's life on Tuesday at a UN news conference and said he was detained without authorization or explanation and remains under house arrest.
Interior Minister Charfeddine placed El-Beheiry and a ministry official under house arrest on charges of issuing false identity documents to a Syrian couple while he served as justice minister.
Ennahda, the largest party in the now-suspended Tunisian parliament, characterized the accusations as "politicized" and called for his immediate release.
President Kais Saied ousted the government on July 25, suspended parliament and assumed executive authority.
He insists that the "exceptional measures" are meant to "save" the country but critics have accused him of orchestrating a "coup."
*Writing by Ahmed Asmar