Hamadi Jebali

Hamadi Jebali is a Tunisian engineer, Islamist politician and journalist who has been Prime Minister of Tunisia since December 2011.

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Hamadi Jebali (Arabic: حمادي الجبالي‎, Ḥammādī al-Jibālī; born 12 January 1949) is a Tunisian engineer, Islamist politician and journalist who has been Prime Minister of Tunisia since December 2011. He is the Secretary-General of the Ennahda Movement, a moderate Islamist party in Tunisia.

Education and professional life

Born in Sousse, Hamadi Jebali studied engineering. He received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the Tunis University and added a masters programme in photovoltaic engineering in Paris, France.[1] As a specialist for solar energy and wind power, he founded his own enterprise in Sousse.[2]

Political and journalistic activity

In 1981 he became involved with Tunisia's Islamist movement, then called Movement of the Islamic Tendency. He was director and editor-in-chief of Al-Fajr (Dawn), the former weekly newspaper of the Islamist Ennahda Party. Moreover he served as longtime member of the party's executive council and remains secretary-general of Ennahda.[1][3]

Criminal prosecution and imprisonment

In June 1990, Al-Fajr published an article by Rashid al-Ghannushi under the title "The people of the State or the State of the People?" Jebali was made responsible for the publication and received a suspended sentence and a 1,500 dinars fine for the offences of "encouraging violation of the law" and "calling for insurrection." In November 1990, the Islamist newspaper contained an essay by the lawyer Mohammed Nouri, entitled "When will military courts, serving as special courts, be abolished?" This time, a military court sentenced Hamadi Jebali to one year in prison for "defamation of a judicial institution".[1][3]

In May 1992, the government claimed that it had detected plans for a coup d'état by Ennahda which had allegedly plotted to kill President Ben Ali and establish an Islamic state. In August 1992, Jebali, together with 170 other sympathisers of Ennahda, was charged with "attempted overthrow." Jebali protested that he had no knowledge of the plot's existence, and asserted that he had been tortured, presenting marks on his body for evidence. The trial was classified as unfair by observers for Human Rights Watch, the Lawyer's Committee for Human Rights, and Amnesty International, the latter of which named Jebali a prisoner of conscience.[4] Eventually, on 28 August 1992 Hamadi Jebali was sentenced to a prison term of 16 years for "membership in an illegal organisation" and "attempted change of the nature of the state."[3] The Court of Cassation confirmed the verdict.[1]

The conditions of his imprisonment were harsh. More than ten of the 15 years that Jebali spent, were in solitary confinement. Hamadi Jebali engaged in several hunger strikes to protest against the conditions and his conviction. Two of them lasted for 36 days each. In February 2006, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Tunisia's independence, Jebali was conditionally released.[1]

After the Tunisian revolution

Following the Tunisian revolution in January 2011, Ennahda was legalised. Since then, Hamadi Jebali has been present in public as the party's secretary-general and spokesman. In May 2011, he traveled to Washington, D.C. on the invitation of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy.[5] He also met U.S. Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman.[6]

Ensuing Ennahda's success in the Constituent Assembly election on 23 October 2011, the party nominated him as its candidate for prime minister.[3][7] Jebali is considered a proponent of the reformist wing of his party.[3]

On 13 November 2011, Jebali spoke at a rally in Sousse together with a parliamentary deputy from the Palestinian Hamas party. Jebali referred to the occasion as "a divine moment in a new state, and in, hopefully, a 6th caliphate," and that "the liberation of Tunisia will, God willing, bring about the liberation of Jerusalem." The tone of his comment was in sharp contrast to the party's public statements.[8]

Interim President Moncef Marzouki appointed Jebali as Prime Minister of Tunisia on 14 December 2011.[9] He presented his government on 20 December.[10] He officially took office on 24 December.

References

  1. Case Information: Hamadi Jebali, Committee on Human Rights, nationalacademies.org. Retrieved on 26 October 2011.
  2. Barrouhi, Abdelaziz (13 May 2011), "Hamadi Jebali: "Nous ne prétendons pas être les détenteurs de la vérité en Tunisie"" (in French), Jeune Afrique, http://www.jeuneafrique.com/Article/ARTJAJA2625p046-049.xml0/, retrieved 27 October 2011
  3. Feuillatre, Cecile (26 October 2011), "Hamadi Jebali: The face of moderate Islamism in Tunisia", National Post, http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/10/26/hamadi-jebali-the-face-of-moderate-islamism-in-tunisia/, retrieved 26 October 2011
  4. "Further information on Tunisia: Imprisonment of a Journalist". Amnesty International. February 1991. http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE30/009/1991/en/e679ed38-ee4f-11dd-9381-bdd29f83d3a8/mde300091991en.html. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  5. "The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy Holds a Discussion on "What Kind of Democracy for the New Tunisia: Islamic or Secular?"". BNET CBS Business Network. 9 May 2011. http://findarticles.com/p/news-articles/political-transcript-wire/mi_8167/is_20110511/center-study-islam-democracy-holds/ai_n57470641/. Retrieved 21 June 2011.
  6. Washington ready to play soft Islam card, Maghreb Confidential, 26 May 2011, http://www.africaintelligence.com/MCE/power-brokers/2011/05/26/washington-ready-to-play-soft-islam-card%2C90297027-EVE-login, retrieved 21 June 2011
  7. Toumi, Habib (26 October 2011), "Al Nahdha likely to front its secretary general as prime minister", Gulf News, http://gulfnews.com/news/region/tunisia/al-nahdha-likely-to-front-its-secretary-general-as-prime-minister-1.919250, retrieved 26 October 2011
  8. Benoit-Lavelle, Mischa (15 November 2011). "Hamas Representative Addresses Tunisian Political Rally". tunisia-live.net. http://www.tunisia-live.net/2011/11/15/hamas-representative-addresses-tunisian-political-rally/. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  9. Mzioudet, Houda (14 December 2011), "Ennahda’s Jebali Appointed as Tunisian Prime Minister", Tunisia-live.net, http://www.tunisia-live.net/2011/12/14/ennahdas-jebali-appointed-as-tunisian-prime-minister/, retrieved 21 December 2011
  10. "Tunisian PM presents new government". Agence France-Presse. Google News. 20 December 2011. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jxEr2AGVUyAWMzckgN0gcXikwhVg?docId=CNG.796c0280e2143daa838da50cac8f6cfa.f21. Retrieved 4 November 2012.