Exiled Islamist leader to return to Tunisia: Party

The leader of Tunisia`s Islamist movement Ennahdha, Rached Ghannouchi, will return home from London Sunday after more than 20 years in exile, the party`s spokesman in Paris said.

Updated: Jan 27, 2011, 23:16 PM IST

Paris: The leader of Tunisia`s Islamist
movement Ennahdha, Rached Ghannouchi, will return home from
London Sunday after more than 20 years in exile, the party`s
spokesman in Paris said.

"He will not return triumphantly, claiming a place in
the government, but as a simple citizen," Houcine Jaziri told
a news agency today.

Ghannouchi said earlier this week he planned to let a
younger person take over the party leadership in the wake of
the popular uprising that led to the ouster of president Zine
El Abidine Ben Ali earlier this month.

Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi, no relation to the
Ennahdha leader, has already promised the end of bans on
political groups like the Communists and Islamists, among a
host of unprecedented new freedoms.

But he has said Rached Ghannouchi would only be able
to return once a planned amnesty law is passed because of the
life sentence he got when he was tried in absentia for alleged
plots against the state.

Founded in 1981 by intellectuals inspired by the
Muslim Brotherhood born in Egypt, Ennahdha was at first
tolerated in Tunisia, including in the initial years after Ben
Ali took power in 1987.

Ben Alia banned Ennahdha in 1992.

PTI