In recent months, there has been a surge in investigations conducted by the anti-terrorism unit, totaling thirteen thus far. Some high-profile names have surfaced in these cases, adding an unexpected dimension to the investigations.
What do French intellectual Bernard Henri-Lévy, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have in common? All have been implicated in cases involving conspiracies against the Tunisian state.
Hatem Nafti, an essayist, dedicated a study to this phenomenon for the Jean-Jaurès Foundation. According to him, conspiracies lie at the heart of Kaïs Saïed’s governance: “Everything is explained by conspiracy. Economic problems are explained by a conspiracy. The situation of migrants is explained by a conspiracy, the famous theory of the great replacement. Everything, absolutely everything…”
Nafti suggests that these conspiracy theories aim to unite the population around its president, creating a sense of solidarity. He portrays Tunisian society as quite susceptible to conspiracy theories. “The problem,” he says, “is that today these conspiracy theories have a judicial treatment. Meaning, that some magistrates take seriously cases that are a priori absurd, and this has consequences for individuals. There are people in prison today, and that is the big problem. We go from something laughable, easily debunked on the internet, to a judicial reality and loss of freedom.”
Last year, a wave of arrests based on suspicions of conspiracy had begun, leading to the apprehension of around twenty opposition figures.