Jebali said the arrests were politically motivated as President Saeed continued to crack down on opponents.
Tunisian police have arrested former prime minister Hammadi al-Jebali, a former senior member of the Ennahdha party, on suspicion of money laundering, his lawyer told Reuters.
Police in Sousse city confiscated the mobile phones of Jabali and his wife before taking him to an unknown location on Thursday, according to a statement posted by Jabali’s family on Facebook.
Jabali’s arrest has raised opposition concerns about the human rights situation in Tunisia since President Keith Saeed dissolved parliament last July, a move his opponents have called a coup.
The interior ministry declined to comment on Jabali’s arrest. The ministry held a press conference on Friday but did not provide any details.
Jebali’s defense team said they had been able to meet him at the detention center where he was being held.
“Jebali told us that he would not answer the investigators’ questions and that he went on hunger strike because the issue was politically motivated and not related to money laundering,” said Jebali’s lawyer, Mokhtar Jemai.
Ennahdha, a self-proclaimed Muslim Democrat, was formerly the largest party in the Tunisian parliament.
At the time, Said said the move to suspend parliament and seize executive power was temporary and needed to save Tunisia from what he saw as a corrupt, selfish elite.
“The President is personally responsible for Jabali’s physical and mental health,” Jabali’s family said in a Facebook post, calling on civil society and human rights groups to “speak against these repressive practices.”
Jebali became prime minister in 2012 and resigned in 2013 following a political crisis.
Earlier this year, police arrested Ennahdha deputy chairman Noureddine Bhiri, held him for more than two months before releasing him without charges.
Syed’s opponents say he is waging a campaign against his opponents through the police and the judiciary, a charge he denies.
Since he seized executive power, he has shelved Tunisia’s 2014 constitution and ruled by decree.
His move initially garnered substantial public support after years of dissatisfaction with the Tunisian political elite, but public anger is growing amid high inflation and unemployment and a decline in public services.
Said now plans to hold a referendum on July 25 in which Tunisians will new constitution, The opposition said they would boycott the vote. The Tunisian parliament will remain suspended until a vote to replace it is held on December 17, 2022.
On June 1, Saeed fired 57 judges, accusing them of corruption and protecting “terrorists” – charges the Tunisian Association of Judges (TJA) said were politically motivated. In response, the TJA launched a national strike, which has now been extended for a third week.
Said in February Dissolution of the Supreme Judicial Councilwhich has been the main guarantor of judicial independence since Tunisia’s 2011 revolution overthrew former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Said has said the decisions are needed to weed out rampant corruption in the judiciary and that his aim is not to control the judiciary.